Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny (Pic: Ciaran Culligan)
Twenty matches into the season and Dundalk FC sit top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division, yet this is arguably not their most impressive feat thus far.
The Lilywhites have conceded just eight goals and kept 14 clean sheets, which is just six off last year's total of 20 - a record under Stephen Kenny.
In terms of goal concessions, Bohs hold the Premier Division record having let in just the 13 in their title-winning campaign of 2008. In that 33-game season, after 20 matches they had conceded eight times also, while keeping 12 clean sheets. For the record, Bohs scored 31 goals in their opening 20 outings, which falls short of Dundalk's tally so far this term - 45. Though they had amassed four more points.
St. James' Gate hold the League of Ireland record for the number of goals conceded (eight), though that came in the inaugural season of 1921-22 when there was just 14 matches on the calendar.
But, if Dundalk are to either equal or break Bohs' record, they have some obstacles to overcome in the form of three extra matches, with 36 games down for decision this time around. The factor of playing each team four times may also come into play, with there being perhaps too much familiarity which could lead to cagier, more tactical affairs in round four.
However, even if the Lilywhites fall short of the league's record, they are likely, if circumstances continue as they are at present, to better their past performances under Kenny. The least number of goals they conceded in his reign came in the double-winning campaign of 2015, with just 23 going in across 33 matches. That season also saw them record a high of 78 goals for.
On the potential records, Kenny said, with some reluctance, that it would be difficult to better Bohs' record. However, he remains upbeat about how his team are currently performing.
“There’s going to be tough challenges ahead, but they’re playing brilliantly at the moment and they’re really exciting.
“This is a younger team. There’s a lot of pace in the team and they’re all working hard for each other.”
The Democrat would like to thank Karl Reilly for his help with some statistics.