Thursday 17 October 2019

Galway have talent but the players must step up and show it - Joyce

Former Galway star Padraic Joyce, attending yesterday’s Eirgrid U-20 football championship launch, believes Kevin Walsh’s men will bounce back in the qualifiers. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Former Galway star Padraic Joyce, attending yesterday’s Eirgrid U-20 football championship launch, believes Kevin Walsh’s men will bounce back in the qualifiers. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

As one of the finest forwards to play the game, it's no surprise that Galway's limp attacking display in their Connacht SFC final defeat to Roscommon last Sunday irked Pádraic Joyce.

Joyce was left frustrated by their second-half showing, which yielded just two points, and he insists they now face "an uphill task" to reach the 'Super 8s'.

Repeating last year's passage to the All-Ireland semi-final appears to be a tall order now after being "bullied" by the Rossies into relinquishing the Nestor Cup on Sunday. It was a "complete collapse" and the Tribesmen seemed to "fold over", according to Joyce.

Kevin Walsh has already taken his fair share of criticism in the wake of the defeat but Joyce - a former team-mate of the Galway boss - feels players need to take a look at themselves as they regroup.

"The manager will get stick, Kevin will get stick for it but, at the end of the day, when the players go on inside the whitewash, they have to understand themselves at this stage," Joyce said.

"They are long enough around to know how to control a game and control a five-point lead. You can't be telling them everything to do. I've been involved myself in poor defeats we've had over the years.

"To Westmeath and Wexford and Antrim - the final one we got bullied and were let get bullied. It kind of happened again on Sunday, in the second half. That was the disappointing side of it, there was no real fight for it."

Speaking at the launch of the EirGrid U-20 All-Ireland Football Championship, the Galway U-20 boss acknowledged the "frustrations" felt by supporters at the Tribe's tactical approach, particularly in attack.

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"Galway always produce forwards, but it's just their first instinct at the minute seems to be going back. That's grand, every forward has to track back, but they are not getting forward again," he said. "They are staying and, at times, they are hand-passing the ball across the middle of the pitch. You can say there's mass defence back but every time you pass a ball sideways (progress stalls), like nothing travels faster than the ball on a pitch.

"So if you don't look up and kick it in, you are never going to beat blanket defences. You are just going to run into them the whole day long. It is frustrating to watch as a supporter, definitely."

While agreeing that the absence of captain Damien Comer - who he feels will struggle to return to fitness for the All-Ireland qualifiers in early July as "he's not even taking part in full training" - is a huge setback, he feels their attacking structure must change.

"You still play with six forwards and unless four of them stay inside the '45, you are not going to get scores," added Joyce. "At times last Sunday, we had only one player, sometimes two, and we were chasing the game. The lads themselves should know better than that, they need scores and they should be further in, closer to goal.

"They need to have a game-plan that gets them more forward because they need to get more scores on the board, because if they don't, they are not going to win games. It's as simple as that.

"They are a talented bunch, but they have to go and show it. You can have all the talent in the world, but you need the work-rate with that.

"And they have to come out fighting the next day, no matter who they get in the draw, they just have to throw the shackles off and throw the kitchen sink at it and see where it goes.

"People in Galway won't mind seeing them get defeated if they get defeated trying to win."

Irish Independent

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