‘Victory over Tyrone will stand to Galway’ – Pádraic Joyce

Galway manager Pádraic Joyce. Photo: Ray Ryan/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

John Fallon

When Galway blew a winning hand in a relegation scrap with Monaghan and lost their top-flight status in Pádraic Joyce’s second season in charge, it looked like that loss in Clones in 2021 might be a milestone in his reign.

And so it has. Not for the long-term repercussions. They got back to Division 1 at the first attempt but what makes that loss significant is that it is the only defeat a Galway team turned out by Joyce has lost in 13 meetings with Ulster counties in league and championship. They drew with Donegal earlier this year, all the others have been victories. Joyce and Galway have learned how to master Ulster counties.

They were helped in their 0-16 to 0-13 win on Saturday by Tyrone playing three quarters of the match when wing-forward Frank Burns was sent off for a clumsy high challenge on Galway corner-back Jack Glynn and then goalkeeper Niall Morgan, who could have been punished earlier for a knee-led high catch which caught Johnny Heaney, was black-carded for dissent.

Galway had an edge before the cards were dished out but they didn’t turn the screw when they had the chance and only managed a single point playing against 13 men with the wind and rain behind them and took a 0-7 to 0-4 lead into the break.

“These things happen in matches, and you have to adjust yourself,” said Joyce. “But we didn’t really capitalise on that. The red card, no complaints on that. Frank is not a dirty player, he just mistimed the tackle. Jack probably turned into him. It was a red card all day long, correct decision.

“Then when they lost Niall, as well, we didn’t really capitalise on that either. They were down their main goalkeeper, we didn’t really push up on it enough. We were a bit slow, a bit too lateral on the ball.

“It is something we’ll look at but at the same time you have to give the lads credit for how they hung on in the game. It was an intense championship game and it will stand to them an awful lot. The conditions were poor, no doubt about that. Delighted to get out of it. Kicked 16 scores. Happy enough.”

Glynn was forced to go off with a nasty facial injury but his replacement, versatile Cathal Sweeney, made the most of the chance and restricted Darren McCurry to just a point from play in a quality cameo.

Shane Walsh landed two early points from play but while five attackers and sub Rob Finnerty found the target, in addition to experienced midfielder Paul Conroy landing two points, they just could not pull away from a dogged Tyrone side despite the Ulster side’s attack getting just three points from play.

Efforts from Walsh and Matthew Tierney extended Galway’s lead to 0-10 to 0-7 at the end of the third quarter.

The sides exchanged points three times in the next seven minutes with Conroy, Cillian McDaid and Finnerty scoring for the Tribesmen, while Tyrone kept in touch with efforts from Darren McCurry, Conor Meyler and Peter Harte, who had gone in goal when Morgan was black-carded, to leave it 0-13 to 0-10 with ten minutes remaining.

Tyrone twice got the gap down to two but each time Galway responded with a score to take a goal lead into five minutes of stoppage time and Walsh made it safe with his sixth point and while McCurry got the gap back to three again in the dying moments, they never looked like getting the goal to draw the match.

“We were two men down for a period, but we hung in and hung in, we just couldn’t get the bounce on them in the end and maybe sneak a goal,” said Tyrone joint manager Feargal Logan.

“There’s a lot of character in those players, we have seen that in spades over the years. They showed it again here today, not ideal conditions for football either and we just came up short. The hunger is there, we hope to go on better from here.”