Tommy Grealy/INPHO Galway senior football boss Pádraic Joyce.
# Criticism
'I was down when Galway U20s played Mayo. You wouldn’t put the mother-in-law out in that weather'
Pádraic Joyce has slammed the GAA for their treatment of the U20 and Sigerson competitions.

GALWAY MANAGER PÁDRAIC Joyce has hit out at the GAA over their treatment of the U20 and Sigerson Cup competitions.

Joyce, who managed the Tribesmen to the Connacht U20 title last summer and who won two Sigerson Cup medals with IT Tralee in 1998 and ’99, has high regard for both competitions but feels they have been downgraded.

Joyce said that switching the U20 to the depths of winter and running off the Sigerson Cup in January was unfair to all the players and their coaches.

Galway, now managed by Dónal Ó Fátharta, retained their Connacht U-20 title in atrocious wind and rain in Tuam Stadium on Saturday against Roscommon.

“I was at the game and they won it comfortably. In fairness, they moved the ball really well particularly against the wind and got two great goals in the first half. In the second half they were just on top. They are going really well.

“Unfortunately, that competition has not got much respect from the GAA in the way they just clumped it all together.

“It is the only link they have between underage and senior. For us as senior managers trying to get lads coming through, even at 20 years’ of age, they are probably a bit shy physicality wise.

“Something needs to change. The new president has mentioned he might do something about that and I hope he does.”

Joyce said the standard of matches last summer throughout the country was high when the games took place in decent weather and he believes it’s unfair to put young players out in the worst conditions.

I was down the first day in Castlebar when Galway played Mayo and you wouldn’t put the mother-in-law out, never mind the dog, in that kind of weather,” he quipped.

“It was a pure lottery as to who won the game. Then it went to penalties, and the pitch, you could see the water lodged on the pitch as it went on. You would feel sorry for the Mayo players that day that didn’t win. Those lads are out of football now until next year again.

“They are just not showing it the respect it should be shown. It is a great competition. There is some brilliant footballers.

“Even colleges now as well has been all condensed. The Sigerson Cup used to be a great competition. To me that was the next competition outside of playing senior inter-county because you are playing with lads all over the country in different colleges. That was a massive competition.

“Again, they have taken the importance away from that a little bit by condensing it into the month of January which is strange really.

“They are talking about player welfare and this kind of stuff but by condensing them and making them play six or eight games in the space of a month, it is not helping them.”

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