Sligo manager Niall Carew was far from downhearted after his side suffered defeat in their FBD League opener against Galway in Tuam.

Sligo trailed by 0-05 to 1-07 at the interval but rallied well after the restart, despite the concession of a scrambled Enda Tierney goal, as the hosts ultimately prevailed by 2-09 to 0-12.

With Carew very much focused on the upcoming Allianz National Football League, he was keen to accentuate the positives, saying: “The big thing for us, when you’ve a small pool of players to pick from, with colleges pulling from you and trying to rest a few of your senior players as well, is to give an opportunity to other lads to push for a place in the league.

“We’re trying to build for the league.

“I felt the game was there for us, especially 15 minutes into the second half. Niall Murphy had a chance for a goal, but it was good for both sides that they were able to try out a few players and let us  know where we are before the league commences.”

Murphy’s missed chance aside, Carew was pleased by the performance of the Coolera/Strandhill clubman, adding: “He’s a fine footballer and he knows he has to keep working hard, but he will. He’s a good lad.

“Pat Hughes was strong as well. They’re the senior players and you expect them to stand up anyway, no more than Galway’s senior players stood up as well.”

Sligo’s players face a mini-cull in the weeks ahead as the panel will be shorn of a number of players.

“We’ve about 38 in our panel now and we’ll get it down to about 32 or 33,” Carew said.

“Lads are fighting for their positions on the panel and also for a place in the league as well.”

Sligo will open their Division 3 campaign against Clare on the last day of January at Hennessy Memorial Park in Milltown Malbay.

“We won’t look any further than Clare,” the Sligo boss insisted.

“That’s our first national league game, but obviously I think every team in that division will feel like they could get promoted and we’re no different, but it’s a tough division.

“You could be fighting off relegation in the last game or you could be fighting for promotion.

“I’m hoping it’s the promotion-end for us, but we’ve a long way to go and we’ll just worry about Clare now in three weeks.”