Pádraic Joyce: ‘We found ourselves in a dog fight . . . and we didn’t win it’

Galway manager angry over incident that saw Shane Walsh suffer injured shoulder

Down in the media room, Pádraic Joyce isn't making excuses. A man who has just seen his team pasted like they were in the second half can't really reach for them. Galway have folded, again. Just like the hammerings in the league against Mayo last year and Kerry this year, just like the calamity in Clones last month.

“You can call it what you like,” he says. “You can blame me for not doing whatever, but at the end of the day, Mayo were the better team on the day. They overran us. We knew that coming up, that we’d have to play really, really well. But we’d be disappointed with the amount of ball we had turned over at times.

“We had four scoring chances after half-time to push the lead out and we didn’t. We put two in the goalie’s chest, missed a punch-point as well just after half-time. So that would have put us a cushion of six, seven, eight points up and we could have killed the game. But we found ourselves in a dog fight that we didn’t contest and we didn’t win it.

“We’re bitterly disappointed. It’s just hard to put your finger on it when we were in a great position at half-time, five points up. We ended up losing the game by six points, it could have been a lot more. So I’m just very disappointed, hard to put your finger on it in the second half where it went wrong for us.


“I said at half-time, ‘we’re five points up, go and manage the game’. They got a penalty straight away, and their runners from deep killed us, from the half-back line. That’s something we spoke about, that’s Mayo’s strength. We stopped it in the first half, but for some reason we went away from it in the second half there. Overall, we are proud of the lads, the way they kept battling to the end there and kept going. But it’s disappointing to lose it the way they did.”

Shane Walsh’s ineffectiveness in the second half was clearly because of the shoulder injury he picked up in his tangle with Pádraig O’Hora. Replays are inconclusive as to what aggression or otherwise took place but that didn’t stop Joyce being angry about it.

“There’s two linesman, there’s four umpires, there’s a referee and there’s an assistant referee. How someone can’t see what happened is beyond me. But that’s not sour grapes or anything. The man was hurt. He was carrying his shoulder, he got an injection at half-time trying to keep him going, keep him right. He battled on as best he could but he definitely was not in full health in the second half.”

James Horan comes in with his young son Eoghan trit-trotting behind him. When your dad wins in Croke Park, all sorts of treats come your way. For the penance of having to listen to our dumb questions, Eoghan's reward is a bottle of Coke from the fridge on the way out. The half-time stats wouldn't have predicted that for him.

“We were about 52 per cent from attacks in the first half,” said Horan (senior). “You’re not going to do anything with that. We were giving away the ball and we were giving away momentum to Galway – they were getting shots after our shots didn’t go dead. So our waste was giving them a lot of fuel.

“But I think Aidan [O’Shea] going inside for the second half pulled two of them and the subs we brought on made a big impact at various stages. Kevin McLoughlin and Eoin McLaughlin made a big impact, Kevin with his experience and Eoin with his hard running. We know that we are strong and we have strong runners. That’s a key strength of ours. And the longer the game went on, the better it was going to be for us.”

Horan reported that O’Hora had gone to hospital for an X-ray but was unclear as to what the exact problem was. The Mayo full back had pulled off two brilliant steals in the space of a couple of minutes around the hour mark before departing on a stretcher. With three weeks to the semi-final, all of Mayo will have fingers and toes crossed for him.

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times