Sligo's seconds targeting promotion in 2015
Sligo's seconds are hoping to celebrate the New Year in style - by winning promotion. Roger Burrows' side topped Division JIC and are now facing a 'round robin' with three other teams in their bid to step up. The other sides who finished in the top four are Dunmore, Galwegians and NUIG. The winners of the round robin series earn promotion to the higher provincial division.
It's been a good season for the Hamilton Park seconds, but Burrows and his players are determined to secure a jump to Division JIB at the end of it.
Roger said: "We won our league, but because of changes in the regulations and the fact that officials wanted to give teams more games, it was decided that there would be a round robin series involving the top four sides this season."
Prior to this the league winners were automatically promoted with the runners-up going into a promotion play-off. However, with two less teams this term, it was decided to introduce the round robin games at the end of the league.
Roger said: "It's good in that it gives guys more games. However, having topped the league we don't want to give up on promotion now. That's always been the objective and it would be nice to play in Division JIB. It's a higher standard and it is also better for players who would be stepping up into the UBL with the seniors."
Sligo suffered only one defeat in their league campaign, that coming at the start of the season away to Dunmore. They lost narrowly in a game where they were without a number of regulars.
They gained revenge in the return at Hamilton Park and there was also only one draw in the league.
Now, the focus is firmly on the games against NUIG on January 11th, Galwegians away on January 18th and Dunmore at home. Sligo have two home games because of the fact that they topped their league at the end of the initial series of games.
Burrows can call on a mixture of youth and experience in his squad as they prepare for the round robin series. The likes of Wesley Maxwell and Niall O'Hara, who is Captain and helps Rogers with the forwards, bring experience to the side, while young players such as Conan O'Donnell and Matthew Cosgrove have also featured for both seconds and senior team.
Roger said: "We have a good mix. The guys have done really well to date and it has been good. The three games ahead are pretty big for us and will determine if we go up. We would certainly like to play in a higher division."
While Sligo have beaten all three opponents, Burrows is taking nothing for granted as he hopes to guide his charges across the line to promotion.
Roger said: "A lot can depend on what happens on the day. Weather conditions could be a factor for example. For the club, promotion would be significant for the seconds. This year the committee, coaches, players and the club made a conscious effort to get to a higher level. Now, we have a chance to achieve that. It's good to have two of the three games at home and that should be a help."
The seconds played City of Derry in a friendly on Saturday, with the seniors also having a game against their North West counterparts.
The Sligo coach added: "Winning promotion would be good for confidence and would give us a new challenge to look forward to next season. Hopefully, we can make it and I know that the players are all determined to do so."