Pádraic Joyce: 'It's great for us'
By Cian O'Connell
Pádraic Joyce is delighted that Galway have reached the Allianz Football League Division One Final.
Sunday's satisfying Pearse Stadium victory over Kerry provided encouragement for Galway manager Joyce, who is looking forward to the upcoming challenge against Mayo ahead of the Connacht Championship.
“Yeah, it’s great for us," Joyce says. "We have four weeks to when we play the winners of Roscommon/Mayo so, as I said before, the finish to the League for us has been great.
“You had Armagh away, Kerry at home, two brilliant matches to test our squad and see where we are at, so it’s great, and we have the game next week against probably the most form team in the Division so far.
"While they are probably the form team we are not too far behind them so we’ll give it a good rattle and we will go at it hard for the week - definitely."
The manner in which Galway performed during the Salthill triumph over Kerry pleased Joyce.
"People give out about football is played at the minute, but I thought the game while it was a bit defensive, had some really good aspects," he stated.
"The ball was kicked a lot and there was a lot of good defensive performances. Again, if these games are open and going 17 points to 18, people give out that they’re too attack minded.
“I thought for us to show the maturity and the battle we showed, especially when you look back at our league at the start when we were down three or our main attackers and it was hard trying to see where we were going.
"We’d only one point out of four in the first two games, but the lads galavanised really well in that first break and since that they’ve been great.
“As I’ve said numerous times, they’re a great bunch of guys, always wiling to learn and they give everything for the county and it’s great what they do.”
That so many emerging and returning players have contributed for Galway during the league is another source of optimism.
"We found ourselves in situations last year when we lost the final and people gave out that we hadn’t enough strength in depth," he says.
"It’s an easy comment to throw out, but there are always 30 players giving their all. We had more time to play players this year.
"Last year was different in Division Two. We had to win every game and didn’t have the opportunity to throw in players.
"This year we’d no choice with all the injuries. They’ve come through. Look at Seán Fitz (Fitzgerald), Cian Hernon, Cathal Sweeney, John McGrath, Jack Glynn got time into them again today, great young lads coming from the U20 setup a couple of years ago, and it’s great that they are pushing on now.
"It’s great for us, it’s a great headache to have, and to have a couple of the experienced players there as well - Cillian (McDaid) and Ian Burke and a few of them to come back in when they are fit, so it’s looking good, but we all know it can change within a week.
"If we don’t get over the line next week we won’t be strong enough, but we know where we are at and we’re happy with where we are."