After five months without a home win, Cork City secured their second victory at Turner's Cross in a week as they defeated treble chasing Dundalk 1-0 on Friday night.
Daire O’Connor’s neat finish at the end of the first half was enough to see City finish their home campaign with a victory that moves them to within 46 points of their opponents in the Premier Division table.
Vinny Perth made five changes to his side which saw their 31 game unbeaten run come to an end against Bohemians at Dalymount Park last time out.
They were almost gifted the lead inside the opening minutes as Dan Casey was caught in possession and allowed Daniel Kelly to race clear on goal but after unselfishly squaring the ball to Patrick Hoban, the striker went down under a fair challenge from Conor McCarthy who then cleared.
Neal Fenn made two changes to his starting eleven which secured their Premier Division status for next season with a 3-2 win against U.C.D last Friday evening.
Garry Buckley and Ronan Hurley replaced Joel Coustrain and Shane Griffin with the latter missing out with a calf injury.
City created their first opportunity of note in the 17th minute as the lively Daire O’Connor made his way to the edge of the box before firing his shot straight at goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.
The Lilywhites will be looking to complete the treble in just over two weeks when they take on Shamrock Rovers at the Aviva Stadium in the F.A.I Cup and they seemed to play in second gear in the first period here.
Sean Hoare sent an in-swinging Sean Murray free-kick wide of the back post with his head just shy of the half an hour mark and the Leesiders soon took control of proceedings.
And they broke the deadlock just before the half time break following an incisive attacking move.
Garry Buckley found Ben O’Brien Whitmarsh and the young striker sent Daire O’Connor through on goal with a superbly weighted defence splitting pass.
The City number 11 made no mistake as he expertly slotted the ball past the onrushing keeper with the outside of his right boot for his second goal in a week, his fifth of the season.
The home side took that momentum into the second half and they almost doubled their lead in the 52nd minute but Conor McCarthy saw his header from Ronan Hurley’s free-kick drop just past the far bottom right corner.
The Champions introduced Jamie McGrath from the bench moments later and he soon had a glorious opportunity to level the scores.
Conor McCormack appeared to have been fouled on the edge of the Dundalk penalty area but after the referee signalled to play on the visitors broke with pace.
Hoban did well on the left and sent McGrath clear one on one with Tadgh Ryan but the shot-stopper made himself big to deny the attacker.
The Louth club continued to press for an equaliser with Michael Duffy curling a free over from just outside the box while Hoban twice failed to threaten the goal with efforts from distance.
Cork then needed Ryan to be at his very best as the game drew to a close and he was more than up to the task.
The 22-year-old stretched to turn Benson’s fierce drive over of his bar before he somehow tipped Dane Massey’s thunderous header wide of the top right corner to preserve his clean sheet and seal the three points for his side.
Cork City: Tadhg Ryan; Conor McCormack, Conor McCarthy, Dan Casey, Ronan Hurley; Gearoid Morrissey, Alec Byrne; Daire O’Connor, Garry Buckley, Karl Sheppard; Ben O’Brien Whitmarsh (Eoghan Stokes 83).
Dundalk: Aaron McCarey; Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Robbie Benson; Daniel Kelly (Georgie Kelly 77), Sean Murray (Jamie McGrath 56), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban.
Referee: Rob Hennessy (Limerick).