Summer return now the target for Joyce
PADRAIC Joyce is likely to miss Galway's entire National Football League campaign due to an Achilles tendon problem.
He had targeted a return for mid-March but the medical advice is that he needs more recovery time. He is working on a rehabilitation programme following an operation on the tendon last September.
The injury had restricted him for most of the previous year, prompting him to have an operation, and while he is expected to make a full recovery, it is taking longer than expected.
While Galway manager Joe Kernan is disappointed that Joyce (below) won't be able to compete in a few league games, he says that having him right for the championship is the priority.
"A player of his class and experience is a great asset in any squad. Hopefully, he'll be back to full power and fitness for the championship. That's the target now," said Kernan.
If the 32-year-old Killererin man is fit to return for the championship, it will be his 13th successive campaign. Galway open their Connacht campaign against New York at Gaelic Park on May 2, a game they would be expected to win easily, thus setting up a semi-final with Mayo or Sligo on June 27.
Kernan was very pleased with last Sunday's win over Monaghan, in which Galway were Division 1's top scorers on 1-20, a week after they turned in a dreadful performance against Mayo in the opening round of the league.
"Scoring 1-20 was pleasing but there are still a lot of aspects of our game which need to be fine-tuned," Kernan added.
Galway and Mayo renew rivalry next Sunday in the FBD League final. Kernan and Mayo counterpart John O'Mahony could well use it for further experimentation now that Division 1 is on a three-week hiatus.