Sligo manager Tony McEntee says his players are in a positive mood despite the size of the task this weekend as Mayo visit Markievicz Park for a Connacht Football Championship quarter-final.

The Yeats County finally return to Championship action having not player since the summer of 2019 due to withdrawing last year.

He took over from Paul Taylor this season who endured a disappointing tenure as boss, including losing all of their games in that calendar year.

McEntee previously served as selector with Mayo as he was part of Stephen Rochford's backroom team in Mayo between 2016 and 2018, helping them reach successive All-Ireland deciders in 2016 and 2017.

The Armagh native has yet to spark life into the county, with a win over Leitrim in the league the only bright spot so far.

Earlier this month Wexford dished out a 12-point defeat in the Division 4 Shield final, which was far from ideal preparation to play a Mayo side targeting another run at All-Ireland glory.

However, McEntee feels the young Sligo team, who will be facing Mayo for the first time in the competition, are excited about the opportunity to come up against the big names they are familiar with from afar.

He told RTÉ Sport: "The mood in the camp is actually very good. The players are in good form. Most of these players have played between two and four Championship matches in their life time with Sligo.

"They are still relatively new to this. This weekend offers the opportunity to play Mayo, a Division 1 team, and the same team we have grown up to love, adore and support.

"Players like Lee Keegan, Paddy Durcan, Aidan O'Shea and Kevin McLaughlin in particular are part of that and now there is the opportunity to play against those players.

"That is something we are really looking forward. As someone famously once said, opportunities pass and don’t pause."

Sligo were the only side to drop out of the competition last year for Covid reasons after an outbreak occurred in their camp.

While McEntee was not in charge during that period, he did reference the incident at the start of his tenure when appointed, reminding his players of the chance they missed out on after all their preparation last year.

He explained: "Last year was very disappointing. We’re very much aware of the circumstances of 2020.

"It is something that we have talked about the start of the year and individually with the players. That was huge disappointment when they were ready for the Championship match against Galway and it didn’t happen.

"But I don’t think it is something that is impacting us this year or has come up in recent conversations."