Dundalk sealed a second successive Premier Division title as Richie Towell's late penalty secured the Lilywhites the point they needed against Shamrock Rovers at a rocking Tallaght Stadium, after Cork City could only match their result away to Drogheda United.
Stephen Kenny's side were made to toil for the result by a classy and determined Rovers side and were rarely allowed to show off the free-flowing football that's rightly earned them the honour of Ireland's best club side.
Rovers had taken a deserved lead within moments of the second half commencing as Danny North finished off a lightning-quick Hoops counter-attack, but a clumsy foul by midfielder Pat Cregg on Darren Meenan gave Towell – Dundalk's talisman – the opportunity to cap off a wonderful individual season.
Pat Fenlon made two changes to the side that defeated Galway United 2-0 in the league here two weeks ago, with captain Conor Kenna a surprise omission alongside Ryan Brennan. Gary McCabe returned to captain the side, while David Webster also returned.
Kenny made three changes from the team that beat Longford Town 2-0 in the FAI Cup semi-final on Friday, with David McMillan, Darren Meenan and Chris Shields replacing Ciaran Kilduff, John Mountney and the suspended Sean Gannon.
The first half started at a quick tempo and the first error was Dundalk's, as Andy Boyle passed directly out of defence to McCabe, who slipped Gavin Brennan in down the right hand side, and the Drogheda man should have, at the very least, tested Gary Rogers.
Former Hoop Ronan Finn – who scored on his first return to Tallaght earlier in the season, and in the corresponding fixture at Oriel Park – thought he'd made it a hat-trick, only for a fearless block from Blanchard to deny him from close range.
Danny North and Dundalk captain Stephen O'Donnell traded needless yellow cards for ill-tempered challenges, before Brennan made rather a better fist of his second opportunity, but the result was the same.
A nervous-looking Gary Rogers made a mess of a deep cross that almost allowed Brennan in again, but he did just enough to put the winger off long enough for Dane Massey to retreat and intercept his pull-back for Drennan.
Drennan steered a header off-target after Miele drilled the ball dangerously into the area, and Finn really should have scored when he danced adventurously through the Rovers defence only to lose his balance, and Blanchard was again on hand to clear the danger.
In the first meeting in Tallaght, Dundalk scored seconds into the second half, but this time it was Rovers who struck before the echo of the referee's whistle had finished reverberating within the stadium.
Drennan did wonderfully well to hold off O'Donnell and play a weighted pass around the corner for Miele, who broke into the box and had his shot saved by Rogers. The Meath man could only prod it in the path of North, however, and the Englishman took a touch before slotting into the empty net.
The home side looked to press their advantage further and had Dundalk penned in their own half for much of the third quarter, the visitors usual passing and pressing game deserting them such was the pressure being exerted by the Hoops in attack and defence.
Kenny withdrew Horgan and the ineffective McMillan for John Mountney and Kilduff in an effort to provide a more physical threat, but former Rovers striker Kilduff too often found himself isolated as Dundalk continued to play most of the game far away from Murphy's goal.
They had one golden chance with 10 minutes to go as Meenan picked out an unmarked Finn in the box, but the midfielder could only shake a tired-looking leg at the ball and watched the ball sail high over the bar.
Then they got the stroke of luck they needed with six minutes to play as Pat Cregg appeared to make contact with Meenan on the edge of the box, and referee Padraigh Sutton pointed immediately to the penalty spot in spite of the home side's vociferous protests.
Shamrock Rovers: Barry Murphy; Simon Madden, Max Blanchard, David Webster, David O'Connor; Patrick Cregg, Gary McCabe, Gavin Brennan, Brandon Miele; Michael Drennan, Danny North.
Subs not used: Craig Hyland (gk), Conor Kenna, Ryan Brennan, Stephen McPhail, Kieran Marty Waters, Damien Duff, Gareth McCaffrey.
Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Chris Shields, Andy Boyle, Paddy Barrett, Dane Massey; Stephen O'Donnell, Richie Towell, Ronan Finn, Horgan, Darren Meenan; David McMillan.
Subs not used: Gabriel Sava (gk), Shane Grimes, Paul Finnegan, Michael O'Connor, John Mountney, Kurtis Byrne, Ciaran Kilduff.
Referee: Padraigh Sutton.
Attendance: 4,800 (estimate).
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Gary McCabe (Shamrock Rovers).