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Mulholland awaits Joyce decision on future with Galway

A decision on the future of Galway football's attacking stalwart Padraic Joyce may be imminent, according to his manager Alan Mulholland.

Joyce has not yet indicated to Mulholland whether he is willing to return to training.

"Padraic has been on a bit of a break," Mulholland explained.

"He has to figure out whether he wants to put in the effort that is required these days. For him to keep up with a 22-year-old it is going to take maybe more effort than a 22-year-old would have to put in.

"He's been away for a couple of weeks now so we're going to have a chat to see if he wants to put in the effort. There will no ultimatums at all," added Mulholland, who hinted that the 34-year-old would have to feature in some part of the league campaign if he wanted to make a meaningful contribution in the championship.

"If he wants to perform to the best of his capability then he probably should be playing in the league."

Mulholland, who has preached a message of patience since taking over, has also outlined the cautious path back to fitness that Michael Meehan has taken after an injury-inflicted two years. His badly damaged ankle is unlikely to improve and the left-footed attacker will have to manage his game and training regime carefully.

"There is no better chance of him playing in 2013 than there is in 2012. Further surgery has been analysed in the US and in England and further surgery isn't going to help him," said Mulholland.

"It's a management thing, a cartilage issue in his ankle. It's a degenerative thing that can't be replaced.

"He's in a Paul McGrath-type situation where he has to manage his injury. He'll train whenever his body allows him to train. So whether he can get sharp and fit with that regime we don't know."

Mulholland bristled at a question that implied that Galway's football following would be less receptive to the defensive tactics deployed by Donegal manager Jim McGuinness in his first year in 2011.

To establish the stability he craves, Mulholland may have to adopt a defensive approach that Galway are not used to.

The suggestion that he may not 'get away' with such tactics with the Galway support amused him.

"What is meant by 'getting away with it'? It sounds as if it is a crime or something like that. Go up to Donegal and ask any supporters there, is Jim McGuinness doing a good job or a bad job? I think this is a media-driven thing," said Mulholland.

"I think what Jim did last year is fascinating. Look at it from the point of view of someone trying to figure out how the hell are we going to beat Kerry and get up to the same standard as Cork.

"What do you do? You go out and pick 15 against 15 and you lose every time."

Mulholland accepted, however, that Galway have been accustomed to a tradition of more open football rather than containment but said people can't be "naive" about their approach.

"Galway football has a tradition of producing some very good players. You talk about Ja Fallon, Michael Donnellan and Padraic Joyce and go back to Jimmy Duggan and Liam Sammon. We have a great tradition of stylish footballers. That's a proud tradition and one we want to maintain.

"There is a consensus there that you can't be naive about this. It would be a big shock in Galway (to prioritise defence in the same manner as Donegal), but if the alternative is getting beaten all the time then we'll take it," he stressed.

Irish Independent