Byrne keeps Dundalk in hunt for title
DUNDALK 1 BRAY WDS 0
Kurtis Byrne's early second-half finish at Oriel Park kept Dundalk firmly in the title race, but only after Kieran 'Marty' Waters had given them a real scare.
After Kevin O'Connor had headed narrowly wide for Bray early on, Dundalk made most of the running and they went close when Brian Gartland fired over from close range.
Before the quarter-hour mark, Richie Towell attempted a cheeky chip from 20 yards but it drifted wide of the top corner with Darren Quigley scrambling.
On 32 minutes, Dundalk skipper Stephen O'Donnell tried to rally his out-of-sorts troops when he rose to meet a Chris Shields cross, but it went just off target.
Six minutes before the break, Waters was denied by the woodwork twice in the space of seconds, his first effort crashing off the underside of the bar before he retrieved possession moments later and drove a low shot off the upright.
Dundalk, though, got a wake-up call at half-time, and Byrne fired the winner past Quigley on 48 minutes despite the 'keeper getting a block on it.
The hosts had a fright when Jason Byrne was denied a late leveller by Peter Cherrie.
Dundalk – Cherrie, Rossiter (Sullivan 60), Gartland, Boyle, Shields, Towell, O'Donnell, Meenan, Keegan (Dillon 71), Byrne (McCaffrey 80), Hoban.
Bray Wanderers – Quigley, Hyland (Wilson 89), Cooney, Webster, Early, K O'Connor, Dempsey, Waters, Zambra, Akinade (O'Leary 79), Byrne.
Ref – P Tuite (Dublin).