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'His footballing ethos is pretty simple' - early days signal return to attacking football for Galway

Padraic Joyce’s Galway defeated Mayo on penalties last weekend.

Galway manager Padraic Joyce.
Galway manager Padraic Joyce.
Image: Evan Logan/INPHO

JUST ONE GAME into his reign as Galway boss, Padraic Joyce has already made his philosophy on the game clear.

It’s no surprise that a forward of Joyce’s class would favour an attacking brand of football.

He made a number of interesting selections for the FBD League semi-final against Mayo on Sunday, which the Tribesmen won on penalties. 

Galway’s full-back line featured former centre-back Gary O’Donnell and wing-forward/wing-back Johnny Heaney. At right-half back was speed merchant Eamonn Brannigan, who has played all his county football to date in attack.

Former AFL player Cillian McDaid lined out the other wing, giving Galway a nice blend of athleticism and pace in defence. 

Galway were down a host of regulars, including Corofin pair Kieran Molloy and Liam Silke, who will provide even more attacking impetus from the back when they return from club duty. 

The early signs indicate that the Tribesmen will play at a far higher tempo than they have done in recent seasons. Putting 1-17 past Mayo on the second weekend in January is a good way to start. 

Corofin defender Kieran Fitzgerald, who won an All-Ireland alongside Joyce in 2001, has no doubt about the style of football Galway will employ this season.

“I think he’ll be good,” he said.

“His footballing ethos is pretty simple: to move the ball, probably the way Corofin do at times. To move the ball as quickly as possible through the force if at all possible. 

“That’s the way he was all the way through. He was a full-forward and he wanted the ball in as quickly as possible. I know myself from playing in the full-back line the most dangerous place to have the ball is in the full-forward line.

damien-comer Damien Comer has returned to fitness for Galway. Source: Evan Logan/INPHO

“It was clearly obvious when we played them that they were trying to do that, albeit in the early stages of it. It’s exciting, hopefully it goes well for him. Hopefully, the county and supporters give them time to develop.

“It’s not all going to happen all at once and I’m sure there’s going to be a few rocky patches along the way. Division 1 is difficult.”

Fitzgerald said Joyce always commanded respect when he spoke as a player.

“In the dressing room, he has an unbelievable knowledge of football, and I thought when he was speaking in the dressing room he used to always make sense.

“It was always with great clarity, and to the point.”

Corofin, who face Kilcoo in the All-Ireland club final this weekend, played Galway in a challenge game in December and Fitzgerald liked what he saw from the county side.

“There is such a positive vibe going around lately. We played them just before Christmas and I was very impressed with them.

“Some of the younger guys I didn’t know them by name, but it was very impressive and thought they played some lovely football really energetic, big big skilful footballers. I’m looking forward to the year ahead I think he’ll be good.”

Galway face Roscommon in the FBD League final on Saturday afternoon, which was fixed to avoid a clash with the Corofin-Kilcoo tie on Sunday.

The Tribesmen open their league campaign the following Sunday with a home clash against Monaghan. 

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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