Criticism and cheap shots help drive Joyce and Galway to provincial glory again


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Criticism and cheap shots help drive Joyce and Galway to provincial glory again Criticism and cheap shots help drive Joyce and Galway to provincial glory again

By Kevin Egan

IF Gaelic games were a game of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’, every footballer, hurler or player would know exactly what would be the best lifeline to have. When the really tough exam comes along, the one that looks set to leave you stumped, you’d turn to Chris Tarrant/Gay Byrne/Regis Philbin and say that you’d like to use “Nobody gave us a chance today”.

On Sunday, Galway used that lifeline and Pádraic Joyce didn’t hide it afterwards, when he reflected on the contest.

“It’s a Connacht title and it’s valued very highly up here. We were given no chance going into the game, there was a lot of talk about it. One thing I say, you can never question the character of these boys and the way they train.”

By now, Christ Tarrant would be cowering in fear. And the steel in the Killererrin man’s voice only grew sharper when he spoke about his goalkeeper, match-winning hero Connor Gleeson.

“I wouldn’t be overly happy with the performance but when you beat Mayo in the Connacht final, it’s great, and the character shown by the lands was fantastic. I’m really delighted for Connor Gleeson with that winner because he has sometimes been ridiculed and laughed at here in Galway over the last couple of years, for some reason. But by God did he stand up today and become a man.

“There at the end, he wanted that ball. He put his hand up, we had spoken about it before the game because Shane can’t kick the frees off the ground with his injury. He said I’ll step up, I’ll take them, and he struck it well.

“We all know stuff was written by different people that the pressure was on us and the pressure was on me as well. It’s great to win it, it puts us into a group in two weeks’ time with Derry at home. We’ll celebrate tonight and do all that but we’re looking forward to that game now.

“You always feel it (pressure), when you see articles written about different stuff on our side and nothing on the far side, it does get to you a little bit,” he continued.  “For the lads, I’m probably putting more pressure on them than anyone else.”

But when it was asked if he tries to shield the players from the outside noise, Joyce was unequivocal.

Pictured: Team captain Sean Kelly and the Galway players celebrate with the Nestor Cup after overcoming Mayo in Sunday’s Connacht Senior Football Final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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