Sligo manager Niall Carew has criticised the Connacht Council’s scheduling of Sunday’s Championship opener with New York as he will be shorn three key players owing to college exams.

The Connacht Championship gets underway on Sunday night (8.15pm Irish time) when New York will hope to put in a repeat of last year’s performance where the underdogs almost pulled off the shock of the season before eventually falling to a one-point defeat to Roscommon.

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Already minus the services of star forward and prolific scorer Niall Murphy with a hamstring injury, the Yeats County also be without Kevin McDonnell, Luke Nicholson and Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch as the trio have exams the day after the match.

The three defenders were likely starters, with O'Kelly-Lynch and Nicholson involved in Sligo’s run to the U21 Connacht Final, which they lost to Galway after extra-time.

Speaking on the RTÉ GAA Podcast, Carew was clearly dismayed with the authorities’ decision, and their unwillingness to change.

"In the wisdom of the Conancht Council, they fixed this game right in the middle of exams," he said.

"It’s a bit of a disaster for us. We just have to get on with it."

"It was cast in stone seemingly with no way of shifting it."

"I can’t ask players to be home in time to sit their exams on Monday morning at 9 o’clock when the game is at half 8 Irish time Sunday night.

"It’s a bit of a disaster for us. We just have to get on with it.

Carew said his team will travel to New York with their "eyes wide open" following Roscommon’s struggles in the preliminary fixture last year.

Trailing by four at the break, the home side rallied and nearly pulled off the biggest win in their history before the Rossies prevailed by the bare minimum.

Listen to live coverage of New York v Sligo in the Connacht Championship on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday night from 8pm Irish time (throw-in 8.15pm).