Colin Hawkins was the home hero as his headed goal late in the first half proved to be the difference, but Derry will be very upset that they leave Oriel with nothing after their performance.
Derry were first to threaten in the fourth minute as Eamon Zayed was played in behind the Dundalk backline by Shane McEleney but Peter Cherrie came from his goal quickly and blocked away the Zayed effort.
The visitors came even closer in the 16th minute when Barry Molloy played Gareth McGlynn behind the Dundalk defence in the inside left slot as he progressed on goal Michael Hector clumsily challenged from behind to concede a penalty and earn a yellow card. McGlynn dusted himself down but his spot kick was too close to Cherrie who dropped to his left and saved easily.
Dundalks first real site of goal didn’t arrive until the 27th minute when Mark Quigley sent Danny Kearns away down the right, his cross to the near post was met by Mark Griffin and Stewart Greacen together and the effort on goal was blocked away. Further efforts followed from Keith Ward and Mark Quigley (twice) as Dundalk at last started to look a threat going forward.
Derry should have broken the deadlock on 35 minutes when Ruaidhri Higgins let fly from around the edge of the box with a lofted effort, with Cherrie beaten all ends up the ball smacked off of the bar and fell to Zayed just 10 yards out and with only the keeper to beat. However the Scottish netminder threw himself to his left superbly the claw the shot away and clear the danger.
The home side opened the scoring in the 43rd minute when Greg Bolger lead a break out he found Mark Griffin wide right who fed Dean Bennett in down the outside right channel. He put in a lovely cross to the centre where Colin Hawkins had abandoned his defensive duties to plant a strong header past Doherty in the Derry goal.
Dundalk nearly extended their advantage on 51 as Keith Ward played Mark Quigley in through the outside left slot, his hooked effort beat Doherty but bounced back into play from the inside of the post. Further efforts followed in short order for young Dundalk striker ark Griffin as he showed he can be an adequate replacement for the injured Jason Byrne. He had a fair shout for a penalty as he was pulled back off the ball in the box whilst striving to get ahead of the Derry backline but ref Hancock saw nothing in it.
The young centre forward Griffin was proving a real thorn in the visitors side with his mobility and hold up play and sent in more stinging efforts just wide of the target and on a more fortunate night would have had a goal to his credit.
Derry should have squared the game in the 93rd minute as a Patrick McEleney back header fell to Zayed 6 yards out but as the ex Drogheda man slid in he pulled his effort wide of the post and condemned his team to defeat.
Dundalk: Peter Cherrie; Simon Madden, Colin Hawkins, Michael Hector, Nathan Murphy; Daniel Kearns, Greg Bolger, Keith Ward, Dean Bennett; Mark Quigley, Mark Griffin (Johnny Breen 88).
Subs not used: Paul Murphy, Shane Guthrie, Chris Kerr, Philip Duffy.
Bookings: Hector (16).
Derry City: Gerard Doherty; Eddie McCallion (David McDaid 66), Barry Molloy, Stewart Greacen, Daniel Lafferty (Ruairi Harkin 82); Shane McEleney James McClean, Gareth McGlynn, Ruaidhri Higgins, Stephen McLaughlin (Patrick McEleney 66); Eamon Zayed.
Subs not used: Rory Kelly, Michael McCrudden, Thomas McBride, Ryan McBride.
Bookings: Higgins (32), McClean (36), Zayed (67), Lafferty (74).
Referee: Damien Hancock.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Mark Griffin (Dundalk).