SLIGO captain Charlie Harrison has labelled Markievicz Park as a “little fortress” ahead of Sundays clash with Leitrim.
Last year’s darlings of the Connacht championship open their campaign against their neighbours and Harrison believes a loss would be a catastrophe for Sligo.
“We see this as our little fortress, even though it didn’t seem like that during the Allianz League,” he admitted.
“Losing to Leitrim doesn’t even come into it. We will be inconsolable if that happens. If things don’t go well we will struggle for the rest of the season.’’
Relegation from the league was a step back for the side after two successive promotions but Harrison was happy with the experience gained.
“We learned a lot of lessons in recent months. Division Two was different from Division Three because we were punished for mistakes and maybe we weren’t punished as much in Division Three.
“I looked at a couple of DVDs of our games from this year’s Allianz Football League and it was mistake after mistake — if we can cut out these mistakes then hopefully we will have a good run [in Connacht].
“There are a lot of young players who’ve got game time and you would hope they can make the step up.”
But relegation wasn’t as bad as last year’s Connacht final loss after the run to the decider included wins over Mayo and Galway.
“We’ve had meetings and we’ve talked through things,” he said, “we’ve pointed out where we can improve, both on an off the pitch. Hopefully everyone has taken something on board.
“Every county footballer loves the championship, the league is just a dress-rehearsal for the championship.
“This is what we live for. Everyone knows that mistakes are punished in these games and everyone also lifts their game that little bit extra.
“Whether it be Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo or Galway no county is different, everyone puts in that extra effort.”
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