"It wont be an ambush": Sligo are prepared for New York

Manager Niall Carew was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast

"It wont be an ambush": Sligo are prepared for New York

Sligo manager Niall Carew Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

It may only be early May, but the GAA Football Championship begins this weekend.

Sligo travel across the Atlantic to Gaelic Park, to face New York in the Connacht Championship. The winners will meet All-Ireland runners-up Mayo in the semi-finals of the provincial championship.

It is the first time Sligo will have played New York since their 24-point win in 2012, but manager Niall Carew is expecting a tougher test this time around.

"If New York beat us on Sunday, it certainly wont be an ambush", Carew told Newstalk Breakfast. "We know exactly what we are heading into".

With the likes of Mayo's Tom Cunniffe and Dublin's Danny Sutcliffe, New York have improved their squad since their one-point loss to Roscommon last year. New York have yet to win a game in the Connacht Championship but have run the likes of Leitrim and Roscommon close in recent years.

Sligo were 3-21 to 0-06 winners against New York in 2012. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ed Mulholland

Carew revealed that his hopes for 2017 are "very realistic", but he would still like to see Sligo reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals. The Connacht side have not been in the last-eight, since a quarter-final defeat to Cork in 2007.

"Every team that operates out of Division 2, 3 and 4 would feel that's a realistic target... Tipperary showed everyone of us all last year that that's very possible, even to make the last four".

This year's Championship is the final one before the 'Super 8' structure is introduced next year. Carew said he was against it, adding that he felt the format needed to be "flipped on its head".

"There should be more games for the so-called 'weaker counties' to try and make a breakthrough. If the likes of Sligo or Tipperary get into the last-eight, and beat a top-five of six team, the worst-case scenario is if you have to play them again to try and make the last-four".

Carew and his side are prepared to meet New York in The Bronx on Sunday evening. If they lose, it wont be for lack of preparation.