SLIGO RFC’s talented first XV have a wonderful chance to reach the Promised Land. Their task is very straightforward – win or draw against Thomond this Saturday and they are promoted as well as being crowned Ulster Bank League Division 2C champions.
For head coach Ross Mannion, the cushion of a draw is a not something he is looking at. He would prefer to end the season on a high by claiming victory over Thomond at Strandhill’s Hamilton Park (kick-off 2.30pm).
Mannion said: “My own ethos is to go out and win every game. You are in it to win it. We want to play rugby as well and that means not going into the game and changing everything by going defensive.”
“We want to attack them [Thomond]. It is huge for us and we want to be up for the game and not dwell on last week even though it was a fantastic result [against Malahide],” he said.
Sligo, who have won 10 of their 17 games so far, have led from the front for the majority of this potentially epic season, but a mid-season blip saw them fall from top spot and they looked to be out of the title reckoning.
Despite that mini-slump, Mannion and his players are where they want to be now through quality as well as luck.
“From the coaching point of view and for the players themselves, we did set high standards and goals. We all bought into that but there probably was that bit of doubt in relation to some poor performances and poor results.”
“We were out of the running a bit and looked out of contention. We had a slice of luck after the Bruff game. We won at home with a bonus point and both Thomand and Malahide lost that day so it was back in our hands if we wanted it.”
The task of overcoming Limerick side Thomond this weekend is far more clear-cut then the final round robin fixture of last season where Sligo had to gain a bonus point win away to Navan and also beat them by eight points to squeeze through on score difference.
“The fact we are playing at home this weekend is huge. It is not a scenario like last year where we had to go to Navan and win by a certain amount of points. It is very straightforward, win or draw and the title is ours,” Mannion commented.
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