Jordan cautious ahead of championship bow

Tommy Jordan is just days away from his championship debut as an inter-county manager as he takes his Sligo side to Ruislip this weekend to begin their Connacht SFC title defence against London.

Sligo are red hot favourites to brush aside the Exiles and set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash with Mayo next month, but Jordan, a Mayo man himself, is taking it one game at a time.

"The bottom line is that we have to go there (to Ruislip) and get a result. We mustn't think that it will be a cakewalk," the former Crossmolina boss told the Sligo Weekender.

"We will try to be well prepared. We'd feel that we should be capable of beating them."

Sligo and London last met in the championship in 2003 when the Yeats men recorded a 3-11 to 0-9 win and Jordan has eight players who lined out five years ago available for Sunday's game.

Under-21 players like Stephen Gilmartin and Gary Gaughan has also made strides in the senior ranks this season and Sligo will travel with a near fully fit squad.

Team captain Noel McGuire (dislocated elbow) and Kevin Byrne (dead leg) are definitely out but the Connacht champions do have Brendan Egan and Kenneth Sweeney back from recent injuries.

London have not won a Connacht championship match since they overcame Leitrim in 1977 and their manager Noel Dunning feels his men will be 'very much up against it' on Sunday despite the match being on home soil.

Although Sligo were relegated from NFL Division 3 recently and will be playing London in Division 4 next year, Dunning's side are not paying much attention to league form - particularly as they lost all eight of 2008 league fixtures.

"It's a tough one (for us). Sligo are not Connacht champions for nothing and, until someone beats them, they remain Connacht champions so I wouldn't pay too much heed to their league form this year," he said.

"From our point of view, I thought we had a real chance of a respectable league campaign based on the panel I knew was available.

"But, of course, the usual in London, (club) players didn't make themselves available for one reason or another and it tore the heart out of the whole panel.

"We were faced with starting all over again, throwing (other) guys in at the deep end."

Not the ideal preparation for the championship. Nonetheless, the Exiles, with Letterkenny man Brian McBrearty their trusty goalkeeper, will as ever give it their all this weekend.

Last summer they lost to Leitrim by only four points in their Connacht quarter-final. But shocking Sligo does seem beyond them.

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