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‘He got dumped to the ground. How someone can’t see what happened is beyond me’ – Joyce unhappy with first-half incident 


Shane Walsh receives treatment

Shane Walsh receives treatment

Mayo manager James Horan. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Mayo manager James Horan. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile


Shane Walsh receives treatment

Galway manager Padraic Joyce revealed that Shane Walsh had to get an injection into his shoulder at half-time following an off the ball incident with a Mayo player in their Connacht final defeat to Mayo.

Walsh came off worse when he hit the ground in a tangle towards the end of the first half. He stayed on but Joyce was annoyed by it, especially that so many officials had missed it and revealed that his captain required an injection at the break.

“He got dumped to the ground,” said Joyce, confirming he had seen the incident. “How someone can’t see what happened is beyond me. But that’s not sour grapes or anything. The man was hurt. He was carrying his shoulder, he got an injection at half-time trying to keep him going. He battled on as best he could, but he definitely was not in full health in the second half.”

James Horan, meanwhile, says he was adjusting plans on his tactics board, in preparation for the second half, when he heard a commotion down the corridor as Mayo and Galway players clashed in the tunnel on their way off at the end of the first half of yesterday’s Connacht football final at Croke Park.

“I haven’t a clue what happened. I was moving pieces on a board by myself,” he stated afterwards with a smile.

It was time alone well spent if that was the case as, ultimately, Horan (right) came up with the correct formula.

Mayo turned a five-point deficit into a comfortable six-point victory to secure their 48th Connacht SFC title, putting them two ahead of their great rivals.

Aidan O’Shea to full-forward for a spell, Oisín Mullin on Shane Walsh, Eoghan McLaughlin and Kevin McLoughlin in, and just a faster tempo all round.

“There wasn’t any panic at
half-time. We had a lot of possession in the first-half, we just wasted a lot of it, particularly up front,” reflected Horan.

“We know that we have strong runners, that’s a key strength of ours and the longer the game went on and we kept doing the right things, we knew we’d get stronger and stronger.”

There was praise for a “phenomenal” O’Shea, who played a captain’s part.

“You saw his tackling out there. He targets key turnovers, and turnovers are huge. He got a great one off Shane (Walsh) that created a goal chance for us.

“He’s very, very good at that and he drifts around the place. Very clever player.”

And Matthew Ruane’s importance grows too.

“He is just made to learn and keep developing, working hard on a few parts of his game. His mobility can be very deceiving, he is very, very quick and a very good step,” added the Mayo boss.

They lost defender Pádraig O’Hora late on to a rib injury, which required hospitalisation and an x-ray, with Horan ruling out concussion.

For Pádraic Joyce, it was a sobering afternoon. “They overran us,” the Galway boss admitted. “We knew that coming up, that we’d have to play really, really well.

“But we’d be disappointed with the amount of ball we had turned over at times.

“We had four scoring chances after half-time to push the lead out and we didn’t.”

Picking up the pieces will be difficult for Joyce and his management team, and in the context of their results since the pandemic began 18 months ago – seven defeats from nine games (they’ve only beaten Roscommon in league and championship) – they have a long road to travel.

“It’s disappointing. I can’t remember a Galway team doing that for a long, long time, didn’t score from play in the second half, especially in Croke Park.

“We have to deal with Division 2 next year as well. So it has been a disappointing year for us overall but the lads have put in serious effort.

“We have to look at where we are and where we’re going as a group and try to bridge that gap that’s there between us and the top teams,” he added.

As to whether he will be there himself is open to question now, he acknowledged.

“I had a two-year term so I’ll have to go and see do they want to keep me, or see do I want to stay. I’ll have to check that out.”

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