Monday 24 June 2019

Hand impressed but says work to be done

Sligo hurling manager Daithí Hand was thrilled to come away from Louth last Saturday with a critical win in their opening game of the Nicky Rackard Cup but feels there is plenty to work on ahead of their Round 2 game against Tyrone this Saturday in Kent Park.

"I thought we had all the play in the 1st half but we weren't clinical enough when it came to scoring and we were probably trying too hard to try and walk it in rather than pick off the easy scores but it kind of shows you the confidence the lads have when they go for that but better decision making now next week, hopefully."

Sligo were leading 1-13 to 1-8 going into the final 5 minutes of the 1st half, only for Louth to register 5 unanswered points to make it 1-13 apiece at half time, but Hand trusted his troops to get the job done in the 2nd half.

"I had the trust in the lads to do it. Anyone who has been following us in the last 18 months knows that. The first half performance there lacked that bite whereas I felt in the 2nd half, particularly after 10 minutes, the lads brought it and they hunted in packs and that's what you need to be doing at this level now."

Racking up 2-24 will usually win any championship game, and that's what Sligo did. However, the concession of 1-19 was also a noticeable factor last Saturday but Hand is content that there is still improvement needed moving forward

"When you look at it from the first half, there's a lot of work to be done in terms of loose play or whatever else. I mean if we were a wee bit tighter you could have said maybe 9 or 10 of those points wouldn't have been scored but I suppose there was a lot of frees given away there too so, look, there's work to be done, that's a very healthy position and place to be in. You don't want to be peaking too soon, I'd rather have a bit of work to do rather than tell the lads they're brilliant."

There's no rest for the wicked and Sligo must regroup again for a fixture this Saturday against a formidable Tyrone outfit. Hand feels the importance of a strong panel is good for competition in the camp:

"You saw there we emptied the bench. I mean there were key performers there today maybe who haven't started recently and they feel that they should have been starting today and that gives them an extra bit of bite now going into the next round next week so that's the way I'll be looking at it, just keep that going, you know?".

Sligo Champion