Dundalk centre-back Andy Boyle has called on the senior players at Oriel Park to lead by example and put a halt to the club’s disappointing start to the season.

Friday night’s 1-0 loss to Bohemians at Oriel Park means the Lilywhites have picked up just one point from their opening four games. The previous, and only occasion, the club recorded such a poor start to a Premier Division campaign came in 1998/99, a campaign which saw the Lilywhites relegated for the first time in their history.

With four SSE Airtricity League titles to his name, Boyle knows Dundalk’s results have been nowhere near good enough and he said it was imperative that players like himself, Chris Shields, Patrick McEleney and Patrick Hoban stood up to be counted.

“As a group, we all have to do it, but I think the dependency is on the likes of us,” he said. “We need to instil exactly what Dundalk Football Club is about and what it means to everyone involved.

“The fans aren’t here at the moment but there are lads who have been here for six, seven, eight years and we know how much it means to them. We have to make sure that the reaction is good from now on.

“I know words are cheap but, performance-wise, we were a bit better against Bohs. Going forward it doesn’t need to be pretty, we just need to win. It might be an ugly win, but that’s what will get us going.”

Georgie Kelly’s winning penalty means that Dundalk have only managed to keep a clean sheet in two of their past 20 matches and Boyle said that was a damning statistic for a side with title ambitions.

“We pride ourselves on clean sheets as defenders and we’re not doing that at the minute,” he said. “I can’t think of too many that we have conceded where you think ‘that was a great goal’. When you keep clean sheets you can’t lose the game and it gives you a base to work on so that’s hurting us as defenders.”

“We probably need a goal to go in or maybe get an early goal,” he added. “That would lift the shackles off a bit and would get us going and give us the bit of confidence we need.

“It’s proper ‘roll our sleeves up’ time now for us. We have to dig in and make sure we’re right at it in training, now more than ever. There’s only one way to get out of this and that’s by working hard.”