Dundalk made it six straight unbeaten on Friday night as they defeated Shamrock Rovers in what was an enthralling battle at Oriel Park.

Sean Murray’s superb first half strike was enough to seal all three points to move Dundalk up to sixth in the Premier Division table.

Vinny Perth named an unchanged side from the one which drew 2-2 with Finn Harps last week, as Will Patching, who came off with an injury at Finn Park was fit enough to take his place in the starting XI.

It was a frantic opening to the match with both sides aiming to put their stamp early on the game.

Darragh Leahy’s cross forced Lee Grace into some last ditch defending under his own crossbar while at the other end Richie Towell dragged a shot wide from inside the box after some impressive work by Aaron Greene.

Rovers took control of the game more or less after that and decided to slow the pace down however didn’t create any chances at all.

Richie Towell and Sam Stanton compete  Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Dundalk were still dangerous when they got and duly took the lead just after the half hour mark.

A wonderful goal saw Will Patching find Duffy on the left, his clever layoff found Patrick Hoban. His inch perfect pass found Sean Murray in behind and he finished first time past Mannus.

It was almost 1-1 in the 38th minute when Barry Cotter got free down the left and his cross caused panic in the Dundalk defence leading to Peter Cherrie palming the ball out to Towell but his shot was blocked on the line by goalscorer Murray.

The ball broke to Cotter again and his cross found Towell once more but his volley was well over the bar.

The Hoops had an even better chance just before the break when Aaron Green’s header was pushed back into play for Gary O’Neill to volley  however he blazed over.

Barry Cotter and Cameron Dummigan had a terrific battle all game. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Dylan Watts then forced Cherrie into action once more with a curling effort just on the edge of the area but the netminder got a good hand to it to ensure the Lilywhites were in front at the break.

The second half began with Rovers retaining possession for the majority however once again they didn’t create anything of note.

Neil Farrugia was introduced early in the half in a bid to make a difference with Barry Cotter withdrawn.

Sam Stanton did have an effort for Dundalk with his volley blocked en route to goal while Cameron Dummigan’s wicked cross was cleared behind by Lee Grace with Hoban waiting in the centre.

Sean Murray had a tremendous match and battles with Sean Hoare. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Substitute Rory Gaffney had a volley go well wide of the target with just under 15 minutes left on the watch as the visitors did their best to get a leveller.

That proved to be their only chance in the half and referee Rob Harvey blew the full-time whistle to seal a huge three points for the Lilywhites.

DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie; Cameron Dummigan; Daniel Cleary, Andy Boyle, Darragh Leahy; Greg Sloggett, Sam Stanton; Will Patching (Mayowa Animasahun 90), Sean Murray (Sami Ben Amar 84), Michael Duffy (Han Jeongwoo 90); Patrick Hoban. Subs not used: Alessio Abibi (GK), Cameron Yates (GK), Ebuka Kwelele, Ryan O’Kane, Enda Douglas, Mark Hanratty.

SHAMROCK ROVERS: Alan Mannus; Barry Cotter (Neil Farrugia 54), Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Lee Grace, Ronan Finn; Dylan Watts, Gary O’Neill (Rory Gaffney 68), Richie Towell; Danny Mandriou, Aaron Greene (Aidamo Emakhu 80). Subs not used: Leon Pohls (GK), Joey O’Brien, Sean Kavanagh, Chris McCann, Conan Noonan.

REFEREE: Rob Harvey.