MUST do better. That was the message from under pressure Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Kenny after his side lost yet more ground on Sligo Rovers in humbling circumstances at the Showgrounds on Saturday.
The champions now enter the second round of fixtures eight points behind the Bit O'Red, who were well worth this win.
"That is not good enough. That is just our second defeat, but we have thrown away some ridiculous points," said Kenny.
"We want to be doing better - there is no doubt about that. It is just that it has coincided with Sligo having the best start to a season that any team has had in 20 years."
In the red corner, there was only delight as Sligo boss Ian Baraclough hailed his "clinical" side.
He saw his team pull six points clear of St Patrick's Athletic the top of the table and said: "I thought it was a superb display from start to finish. It was just a clinical performance, we did the simple things well.
"We were tough to break down. They had a lot of possession for the first 20 or 25 minutes, but we were solid.
"We speak all the time about being patient, don't panic just do the right things, and the openings will come, and that is how it proved."
Two goals from top-scorer Danny North and a screamer from newcomer David Cawley saw the league-leaders cruise to victory against a Hoops side that finished the game with nine men after Chris Turner and Graham Gartland were given their marching orders.
In fact, the visitors lost their discipline completely in the second half -- picking up four yellow cards and two reds.
North opened the scoring with a confident 30th minute finish, shortly after Mark Quigley hit the crossbar from an audacious lobbed effort from distance.
Gary Twigg and Gary McCabe had the Hoops' best chances early in each half, but both efforts were well saved by Gary Rogers.
North wrapped up the win with his second of the day on 77 minutes, finishing low to the net after a defence-splitting pass from captain Danny Ventre.
"The clean sheet is even more pleasing for me," said Baraclough. "Gary (Rogers) commanded his box, the back four in front of him were excellent and the midfielders in front of that helped out the defenders. The strikers worked hard throughout."
Turner's red card came on 55 minutes after he clashed with Alan Keane, who came in for heavy criticism from Kenny.
"Alan Keane pushed Chris Turner, who pushed him back and he went down feigning injury. That is a disgrace. You can't raise your hands, though, and Chris should know that."
Gartland was sent-off for a second bookable offence in the last minute.
Sligo Rovers -- Rogers, Keane, Peers, McGuinness, Davoren, Boco (Dillon 75), Cawley (Lynch 61), Ventre, Gaynor, Quigley (Cretaro 81), North.
Shamrock Rovers -- Pieterse, Gilbert, Sives (Hawkins 75), Gartland, Powell (Dennehy 63), McCabe, Rice, Turner, Brennan, Kavanagh (Greene 67), Twigg.
Ref -- T Connolly (Dublin)