CASH-strapped Dundalk put a dour season behind them by preserving their Premier Division status after a brace from striker Michael Rafter secured a 2-0 win to give them a 4-2 aggregate victory over Waterford United at the RSC.
Waterford started the brighter with David Breen's header just passing the post and although the home side were dominating, Mark Griffin should have scored when he volleyed over from eight yards.
The Lilywhites hit the front just before half-time, as Rafter collected a throw-in on his chest, controlled and blasted a half-volley home.
Ben Ryan forced Peter Cherrie into a fine save as the home side tried desperately to equalise midway through the second half.
Disaster struck when Dundalk broke from the resultant corner and a great challenge from Rafter on the halfway line saw his path to goal open, and he slid the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.
Waterford's Seanie Maguire thought he'd got his team back in it but his strike was ruled offside.
Dundalk nearly had another four minutes from time, but Nathan Murphy's effort came back off the post and, in the end, Darius Kierans' men did enough.