Sligo’s 1st team had a very useful workout against Enniskillen in a friendly/training game at Hamilton Park on Saturday last. The respective managers opted for four 20 minute quarters, and several different formations were used by Sligo over the course of the game.
The home side’s management employed 22 players over the 80 minutes, and a number of newcomers made their debut for the side. Among the debutants, former Georgian International, Kakaber Machitidze, slotted in well to out-half, until forced to retire in the third quarter with a calf injury. Philip Henry, who had been abroad for a number of seasons, played very impressively on the left wing, while Lloyd Wilkinson, son of Benny, a star Sligo gaelic footballer in the 1970’s, and a product of the club’s underage system, had his first senior outing for the club, when he played at prop. Also in action in the pack were Simon Coulter and Ross O’Boyle, who both spent the past season in New Zealand, as well as former U-18 forwards, David Kilcoyne and Ciaran Stafford, while hooker Joe Muleady made a welcome return to the club colours after a season with Carrick-on-Shannon. Last season’s U-18 player, Stuart O’Brien, made his debut on the left wing.
Sligo played against the extremely strong wind in the first two quarters, and trailed by 5-3 at this juncture. However, understandably, they were unable retain their intensity for the final 20 minutes, and Enniskillen eventually won by 15-3. The visitors commence their league in two weeks, and their longer pre-season training was a major factor in their final quarter dominance, when fitness became a significant factor.
Sligo fielded without a number of their front-line players, including team captain, Jamie Livingstone, Peter Mullan, Cathal Culhane, David Greene and Ronan Gillespie, as well as Frenchman, Thomas Darcel, who is due to arrive in Sligo on September 2nd. Overall, it was a very worthwhile exercise, as the Sligo management trio of Bernie Kelly, Joe Walsh and Brendan Leahy will have gleaned a lot of information from the game.
Sligo’s next competitive outing is away to Tuam in the special early season ‘warm-up’ league on Sunday September 2nd. The Connacht Junior 1 League commences on October 21st.