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Joyce: 'They'll always blame the manager but it's unfair a lot of the criticism he gets'

Padraic Joyce has defended former team-mate Kevin Walsh following the Connacht final defeat.

PADRAIC JOYCE BELIEVES the level of criticism that was directed at Galway boss Kevin Walsh in the wake of the Connacht final loss to Roscommon has been over the top.

Kevin Walsh Kevin Walsh lost his second Connacht final as manager of Galway at the weekend. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Galway were dethroned as provincial champions after Anthony Cunningham’s side pulled off a nine-point swing in the second-half to take the title.

Joyce and Walsh won two All-Ireland titles together with the Tribesmen during their playing days.

Joyce watched the defeat in Pearse Stadium and says the players must shoulder more of the blame rather than using Walsh’s tactics as an excuse.

“He’s probably just getting it because traditionally Galway would have been a free-flowing county,” the legendary forward said.

“We’ve lost shoot-outs over the years and we got criticised for that as well. When you lose, the manager is always to blame. No matter what, they’ll always blame the manager but I think it’s unfair a lot of the criticism he gets. 

“He was a brilliant himself footballer for Galway and a great ambassador for Galway. At the end of the day, okay he can set-up tactically whatever way he wants but the players are on the pitch.

“There are senior players that are there a lot of years, you can’t be spoon-feeding them all the time what to be doing. They should know themselves how to play and where to go at certain times.”

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 4.05.35 p.m. Padraic Joyce was speaking at the launch of the 2019 EirGrid GAA Football U20 All-Ireland Championship.

The current Galway U20 manager was surprised to watch their second-half collapse after they led by five points at the interval.

 ”Disappointing weekend overall as a Galway supporter with the two of them losing. In fairness, the poor hurlers are on the go a long, long time so they’re probably tired.

“But the footballers were poor. They seemed to have the game won at half-time and just didn’t perform in the second-half at all. They seemed to let it go away.

“Just after half-time, as manager you’d be telling a team if I was five points up to go six points, seven points up and kill the game. We conceded 1-1 straight away and the lead was wiped out in six minutes. We didn’t push on then.

I wouldn’t mind we had the breeze as well. It’s hard to put your finger on it. Sometimes if the tide turns against you it’s very hard to turn it around but we still had enough players to stand up, take account of it and manufacture a few scores or frees to steady the tide.”

Galway reached last year’s All-Ireland semi-final but face a tough road to even reach the Super 8s, with plenty of big teams waiting in the qualifiers.

“It’s very difficult because at least if you win the provincial final you’re guaranteed the first home game, you know where you’re playing. Whereas now they’ve to go and wait three weeks.

“It’ll be two weeks before they find out who they’re playing and the team they’re playing will have won three games in the backdoor so they’re going to be coming sky-high full of confidence and success under their belt, whereas you’ve to try and regroup and hit them head-on.”

Ian Burke is shown a yellow card Ian Burke is shown a yellow card during the Connacht final. Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO

The two-time All-Ireland winner took charge of the U20s this season and they face the winners of Leitrim and Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final on 3 July.

While he’s enjoying his first proper managerial role, with UCD boss John Divilly part of his backroom team, Joyce doesn’t foresee himself taking on the senior job in the future.

“I would have had (ambitions to manage at senior level) over the years but when I got involved in this U20 it’s just suiting me find time-wise because I’m busy with my own work,” he says.

“The senior job, I know from talking to Kevin it seems to be like a full-time job. It’s seven days a week, you’re analysing and I know it takes its toll. At the minute I definitely wouldn’t have the time to put into that now.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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