Sligo Rovers boss Ian Baraclough expressed his delight at recording a 3-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers on Saturday afternoon but always felt the team was full of confidence going into this one having come off the back of an impressive victory over Drogheda United last week.
"The performance was there, the intensity was there all week because after a good result and performance against Drogheda the focus was there building up into this game and it was a big game for the boys. Live on TV we haven't really done it and today I thought we done the simple things really well and we were clinical in front of goal."
Despite having less than a week to prepare for the season ahead, Baraclough has guided his team through an unbeaten start and find themselves top of the table and ahead of second place St. Patrick's Athletic by six points but has stressed that no one will be getting ahead of themselves at this early stage.
"I don't think anyone could have imagined it, but with the way we've gone and worked we're getting the rewards from it and it's a testament to every one of them, not just the eleven today but it's been the squad. We've got a small squad, I keep saying it, but their full of quality and the young lads that have come in like David Cawley and Lee Lynch, they've all played their part and it's a good balance. We've got to keep going, we're only a third of the way through the season, no one's getting excited, nobody's getting above the stations and we move on to the next game now and keep the run going."
Many people felt that Sligo Rovers biggest tests awaited them six or seven weeks into the season, but Baraclough feels his side have answered those test so far.
"People said we had an easy start with the run of games and then we would be really tested after six or seven games, but we've gone and answered those tests at the moment, we've shown we're not scared of anybody, we know there's a hell of a long way to go and we also know there's probably six or seven teams that are still looking to get into that top three. First of all we'd like to get into the top three, to get European football again next season but the major thing is going on and hopefully taking the title. Now again, we're only a third of the way through, there's a long way to go and it's just pleasing we got the three points today and we've gone and beaten one of our major rivals."
Sligo Rovers will be seen as the team to beat now that they sit unbeaten at the top of the table, but Ian feels they aren't the only team to beat at the moment.
"I think there's ourselves, everyone that goes to Shamrock Rovers wants to beat them, everyone that goes to Pat's wants to beat them because their unbeaten as well don't forget this season, they're a strong side and then you have Drogheda who are the dark horses. Cork had a slow start, they're starting to pick results up now so there are a lot of teams who can do damage so everyone will want to beat us because we're top at the moment but everyone will want to beat the others as well."
Baraclough felt there was always going to be tension going into this game and also expressed his disappointment at the number of cards shown by referee Tom Connolly.
"There's always going to be (tension), it's live on TV, it's two top teams and there's always going to be a certain amount of tension there. Far too many yellow and red cards for my liking but the referee saw fit to stamp down on it early and it carried on in the same vein."
"I don't like to see people getting sent off and I think some of the gloss will be taken off it because people will say you were only up against nine men, but I think the damage was done against eleven men and it was something important we spoke about that we finish the game with eleven because it can come down to the amount of suspensions you pick up and it was important you treat the referee right and you make sure you don't go and make silly tackles."
Alan Finn is a Sligo based reporter who joined the Extratime crew in 2012. If there is a match on in The Showgrounds, it is likely you will find him there.