There was no separating Dundalk and Shelbourne in what was a fiery contest at Casey's Field.

This was the Louth side’s first game at their renamed ground which has switched from Oriel Park until the end of the season in memory of honorary club president Des Casey, who passed away on 23 August.

The former FAI president and vice-president was a goalkeeper in his playing days and would have been pleased with the level of defending and goalkeeping on show.

It would have been of little joy to Stephen O’Donnell, who has now seen his side go from potential title challengers this time last month to facing a battle to qualify for Europe.

This result saw them fall two points behind Derry City in second, with fourth-placed St Patrick’s Athletic closing the gap behind them to two points, with both sides having games in hand.

The Lilywhites will feel key decisions went against them on the night but with just one point from their last nine on offer in the league, they know they must win away to bottom-of-the-table UCD next week to reignite their campaign.

Damien Duff’s side have now held Dundalk three times this season but a late serious looking injury to Conor Kane will no doubt sour their night slightly.

The visitors started on top and could well have been ahead on eight minutes when Shane Farrell broke down the right only to see his low drive touched around the post by Nathan Shepperd.

The resulting corner from Jonathan Lunney was then met at the near post by Brian McManus but he couldn’t direct it on target.

Steven Bradley marauds forward for Dundalk

Farrell was at the heart of things for Shels once again on 18 minutes when he was released once again on the right by Aodh Dervin.

His cross looked destined to find Matty Smith but Andy Boyle got back to deny the Scot what would have been a tap-in.

Jack Moylan then threatened six minutes later with a shot that Shepperd could only push up in the air before gathering at the second attempt.

Dundalk’s first attempt didn’t arrive until the 25th minute when Steven Bradley cut in from the right onto his left foot only to fire just over the bar.

Conor Kane then had an effort flash just wide at the other end four minutes later before the home side began to up the ante.

On the half hour mark, Ryan O’Kane beat Farrell on the left before pulling back for John Martin, who just failed to get a shot away.

The Kilkenny man then should have scored a minute later when he seized a loose pass from Gavin Molloy inside the Shels box but with only Brendan Clarke to beat, he fired agonisingly to the right and wide.

John Mountney then had an effort turned around the post by Clarke on 35 minutes before the Lilywhites had big penalty appeals turned down a minute later after Keith Ward looked to have been hauled back by Luke Byrne after bursting past the Shels captain into the box.

Referee Paul McLaughlin, who was a late call-up for the game in place of the injured Damien MacGraith, failed to warm himself to the home fans again a minute before the break when he opted to only book last man Molloy after he hauled down Martin as the striker bore down on goal.

It would be Shels who threatened first on the restart, with Aodh Dervin flashing a shot just wide from the edge of the box on 52 minutes.

Mountney then went agonisingly close to the first goal of his second spell at Dundalk three minutes later when he got on the end of Ward’s free-kick, only to see it skim up and over off the top of the crossbar.

O’Kane then broke in from the left to get a shot away on 58 minutes that forced a good stop from Clarke.

Matty Smith then went close to a breakthrough for the visitors four minutes later when he got through on goal only to be denied by the outstretched leg of Shepperd.

Molloy then curled a free-kick just wide on 82 minutes before Clarke came to Shels’ rescue five minutes later with a super stop at close range to deny David McMillan after he had been slipped in by Paul Doyle.

The night then ended on a sad note when Shels defender Kane departed with a serious looking injury in stoppage time.

Dundalk: Nathan Shepperd; Lewis Macari (Paul Doyle 82), Sam Bone, Andy Boyle, John Mountney (Joe Adams 64); Greg Sloggett, Alfie Lewis; Steven Bradley, Keith Ward (Runar Hauge 76), Ryan O’Kane; John Martin (McMillan 64).

Shelbourne: Brendan Clarke; Gavin Molloy, Luke Byrne, Shane Griffin; Shane Farrell, Jonathan Lunney, Aodh Dervin, Brian McManus (Kameron Ledwidge 67), Conor Kane (Aaron O’Driscoll 96); Jack Moylan; Matty Smith.

Referee: Paul McLaughlin (Monaghan).