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'Galway will go places with him' - All-Ireland winning team-mate backs new boss Joyce

Two-time All-Ireland winner Padraic Joyce has taken charge of his native county.

Galway manager Padraic Joyce.
Galway manager Padraic Joyce.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

PADRAIC JOYCE AND Kieran Fitzgerald won a Celtic Cross together with Galway back in 2001 and both picked up All-Stars that winter.

Now 18 years later, Joyce and Fitzgerald are still chasing All-Ireland glory.

Fitzgerald is on the hunt for his third successive All-Ireland club crown with Corofin, who face into a Connacht decider with Padraig Pearses on Sunday. Joyce, meanwhile, was recently appointed Galway boss and has already set his sights on lifting the Sam Maguire next year.

For his entire inter-county career, Fitzgerald shared a dressing room with the legendary forward and wasn’t surprised to hear the new Galway manager announce his bold ambitions for the 2020 season. 

“He’s a confident man,” he says. “He knows what he wants. He’s been very successful on and off the pitch. Whether he can do it and win an All-Ireland in 10 months, I hope he can! But I think Galway will go places with him.

“We haven’t won an All-Ireland since 2001. But Galway are traditionally one of the top counties.

“The talent is there to be really competitive. I don’t know, Dublin and Kerry just seem to be a good bit ahead of what’s there at the minute, but if Padraic Joyce says we’re going to win an All-Ireland, who are we to say not?”

aib-gaa-provincial-finals-media-day Fitzgerald was speaking at the AIB GAA provincial finals media day. Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

Previous boss Kevin Walsh shipped criticism for his defensive style, but Fitzgerald expects watch more attacking football in 2020.

“It’s going to be exciting. Probably marry a bit of the previous styles of defence with a little bit more attack, that will be the way to go.

“He’s a shrewd operator, he knows his football. I’ve played with him, in the dressing room, on the pitch, he knows his stuff. He knows the type of football he wants to play. He has said he wants to play a more expansive game.

“H’s a huge figure in Galway. He’s one of the best footballers that Galway has ever produced. Very popular, he’ll bring the crowds in. You want to see a bit of go-forward ball, and people are looking forward to it.

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“Expectation-wise, I don’t know what will happen. People are looking forward to it, and I think he’s going to be good.”

“He exudes confidence. He was full-forward there and he was really a believer in moving the ball up the field as quickly as possible. The way he spoke in the dressing room, the way he held himself on the pitch, he was a very confident footballer.

“He had all the skills and ability of course but I think he’s going to do well.” 

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Kevin O'Brien

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