Galway’s resources tested to the limit but Joyce’s soldiers are still standing

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IF Padraic Joyce wanted to, he could hide behind a crippling injury list to some star players as Galway footballers continue to scrap for Division One survival in the National League. He will take questions about the team’s ‘missing in action’ but has no interest in gilding the lily about the team’s misfortune.

The core of the Galway team has been stripped bare this Spring. No Shane Walsh or Damien Comer – their most influential attackers; no Cillian McDaid – another All-Star from 2022; no Paul Conroy – still the team’s spiritual leader; no Liam Silke – a defender of proven quality; no Matthew Tierney – a matchwinner on a going day; and now Rob Finnerty looks like being out for a period.

Even in the modern GAA era of an unprecedented attrition rate, this is an alarming list of casualties, and it is to Galway’s credit that they are managing to keep their heads above water, eking out priceless away victories over northern opposition Tyrone and Monaghan, while also salvaging a draw against Roscommon at Hyde Park.

That is some achievement in the circumstances and even if Galway get nothing from their challenging concluding league ties against last year’s All-Ireland finalists Dublin and Kerry, they may already have enough points in the can to stay in Division One, with Monaghan and the Rossies the favourites to go down.

Privately, the sheer scale of the team’s injury crisis must be testing the patience of the Galway management, but Joyce continues to put a brave face on their predicament. There is no whinging or bemoaning their bad luck; instead, he is helping to keep the show on the road by being as positive as he can.

Joyce admittedly gave a downbeat assessment of his injured squadron after Galway’s seven-point triumph over Monaghan in Clones on Sunday, but he didn’t bring it up. The Tribune and the Tuam Herald wanted an update about the absent players and how long it would be before they were seen back in action.

Pictured: Galway’s Mairead Glynn eyes up her options against Meath’s Ciara Smith during Sunday’s Ladies Football Natonal League tie at Duggan Park. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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