independent

Thursday 23 October 2014

Sunday game

Published 31/12/2013 | 05:40

New Sligo boss, Pat Flanagan, will have to plan without a number of key players for his first competitive game in charge of the Yeats County.

College commitments and injuries mean that Sligo will have a depleted squad for Sunday's opening FBD Connacht League clash with Galway at Tuam.

Sligo captain, Ross Donavan, defender Keelan Cawley and forward Stephen Coen, are on duty for IT Sligo while midfielder, Adrian McIntyre, is ruled out through injury.

It will give the new manager the opportunity to have a look at some fringe players over the course of the Connacht League.

While the emphasis will be on developing the squad ahead of the start of the National League next month, Flanagan is hoping the team can hit the ground running in the warm-up competition.

"It's been hectic since I took the job a few weeks ago and we'll be treating the Connacht League quite seriously," he said.

"The competition will give us a chance to look at the players in a competitive environment.

"It will give the players important game time because we need to hit the ground running for the start of the National League next month."

Sunday's game has added interest in that the counties could meet again in the 2014 Connacht Championship.

Galway face London in the opening round of the Championship with the winners due to meet Sligo at Markievicz Park on June 21st.

Sligo reached the final of the Connacht League last year but suffered a shock defeat to Leitrim in the decider.

"The players are eager to pick themselves up after what happened last year," the new manager said.

"We've had a few good training sessions and the response from the players has been very positive."

Flanagan said he wants to players to express themselves and enjoy their football.

"I don't want to restrict them," he said.

Sligo beat a Club All Stars selection 2-10 to 0-12 at Enniscrone last Sunday and a number of players who featured in that game will be in contention for the clash with Galway.

Colm McGee and Kenneth Sweeney are back in the panel while Brendan Egan, who won a Dublin county championship medal with St Vincents, will be another key player this year.

Among those in contention to step up to senior level are Cian Breheny, Johnny Kelly, Conor Griffin and Vincent Frizzell.

"We haven't had a lot of time together but we've worked hard and now we have three games in the FBD League to have a good look at things," said Flanagan.

Meanwhile, IT Sligo, under manager, Michael Moyles, begin their Connacht League campaign away to Roscommon on Sunday.

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