Dundalk and St Patrick's Athletic played out a disappointing scoreless draw at Oriel Park, a result that leaves the Inchicore outfit just one point away from the relegation zone.
The home side came into the game without a victory against Dublin opposition in 14 attempts, but they started brightly with the in-form Michael McGowan going close with a long-range effort after just four minutes. Two minutes later Chris Turner stung the palms of Brendan Clarke with a free-kick.
The St Pat's goalkeeper was lucky not to receive a red card for a foul on Ger Rowe outside the penalty area in the ninth minute.
Referee Alan Kelly deemed a free-kick sufficient punishment for the infringement to the frustration of the home crowd. Clarke then thwarted Dundalk again in the 18th minute when he showed good fists to parry McGowan's half volley from 10 yards.
A slack back-pass from Shaun Kelly almost presented Mark Quigley with an early Christmas present. Fortunately for Kelly his goalkeeper Peter Cherrie was alert to the danger. Quigley had earlier shot well wide from 18 yards as the Inchicore outfit struggled badly to make any sort of impression.
They did, however, have the clearest opening of the first half with the game in stoppage time. Gareth O'Connor's delightful ball found the run of Ryan Guy but the American could only slide his effort across goal and wide of the post.
The struggling Dubliners opened with a sense of purpose in the second half. Quigley went within inches of scoring with a well hit volley from 18-yards, while Gareth O'Connor had a goal chalked off for offside after Bobby Ryan's effort hit the post.
Dundalk struggled to impose themselves on the game against a well-drilled Pat's back four, although they were denied a penalty in the 73rd minute when Jason Gavin looked to have handled the ball while lying inside his own penalty area.
Tiarnan Mulvenna was then booked for diving late on as the Lilywhites struggled to break Pat's down.