SLIGO Rovers mean business -- that's the clearest message from the weekend's League of Ireland action as the league leaders sent out a real statement of intent with a 3-0 hammering of Shamrock Rovers.
The reigning champions spent the weekend licking their wounds and trying to find a way to lift their season after a run of just one win in the last six games, with pressure already mounting on boss Stephen Kenny. Over in Sligo it's all smiles as Ian Baraclough's men completed the first series of games unbeaten and they hold a seven-point lead over second-placed St Pats.
"I think that's what's called a signal of intent," Sligo defender Jason McGuinness (pictured) told the Herald today.
"To me, it sends out a message to the rest of the league that we are very serious about what we want to do this season. I know that it's very early days in the season and we have won nothing yet, but that win shows that anyone who wants to come to the Showgrounds in Sligo this season and take something from us will have to work very hard for it," added the Dubliner.
McGuinness won league titles with Bohemians -- he's one of only two players in the Sligo squad, along with Joseph Ndo, who has a league medal -- so he understands the pressures of sustaining and then completing a league challenge.
"We won't let ourselves get carried away, you get three points for beating Shamrock Rovers just the same as you get three points for beating the bottom club in the league," he says. "But beating the champions with such a big scoreline is huge in terms of morale, and it lets other clubs know what we are about.
"We have a very tough game on the way next week against Shels, I know that we were lucky to get a point against Shels on the first day of the season when we could have been beaten, so we're not thinking we can just turn up and get three points against them, Alan Mathews will have them well-organised and Shels themselves are on a decent run with a couple of wins," he added.
For the other Rovers, the Dublin ones, this week will be about restoring pride and trying to get ready for a home tie with Drogheda United next Friday, where failure to land all three points will heap even more pressure on the champions.