Eamonn O’Hara believes Sligo must target promotion to Allianz League Division Two next year if they are to become realistic contenders for provincial honours in future.
Pat Flanagan took up the reins in the county after the departure of Kevin Walsh, who left after a defeat to London which sparked a bitter war of words with O'Hara, who was harshly critical of the county's performance in defeat to London in the Connacht championship.
Former Westmeath manager Flanagan has overseen a campaign in which Sligo finished fourth in Allianz League Division Three after winning three of their seven matches but ending up some distance behind promoted duo Roscommon and Cavan.
Speaking to League Sunday Extra, O’Hara said: "Trying to find out what the new guys are like and getting to know them takes time. They got five points last year and they got six points this year. They have done relatively well and have maintained their Division Three status."
But according to O’Hara, Sligo must press on and secure a higher level of competition in the league if they are to become a major factor in the province.
He added: "Success is measured differently. I think for Sligo to progress and win Connacht titles we need to be in Division Two, so next year the target is to get promotion like Roscommon and Cavan did this year."
Sligo work from a limited playing pool and during O’Hara’s own long inter-county career there was ebb and flow from year to year. He added: “We have a limited pick. Pat Flanagan tried 30 guys in the League this year."
O'Hara was a star performer when Sligo won the Connacht title for the first time in over 30 years in 2007.
He added: "Back then we had a core group of 20 or 25 guys who really committed to it. Peter Forde was in charge at the time and we pushed the likes of Armagh who subsequently went on to win the All-Ireland hard. We were close but not quite there.
"Then when things started changing and lads got a little bit older and start retiring and getting injuries, we didn’t have those replacements and we suffered. We will always have a good year and that will always be followed up by a weaker year."