Pádraic Joyce rues Galway’s ‘complete collapse’ in defeat to Roscommon
Former All Star criticises his county for having ‘no real fight for it’ in Connacht final
Cork’s Peter O’Driscoll, Tyrone’s Ruairi Gormley, Galway U20 manager Padraic Joyce, Ard Stiúrthóir of the GAA Tom Ryan, Cork U20 selector Colm O’Neill, EirGrid CEO Mark Foley, Kildare’s Darragh Ryan and Mayo’s Ruairi Gormley at the launch of EirGrid GAA Football U20 All-Ireland Championship. Photograph: Eóin Noonan
They sat back, allowed themselves be bullied, and ultimately collapsed and folded: Pádraic Joyce doesn’t go gently on his assessment of Galway’s performance in Sunday’s Connacht football final but there is also a deeper understanding about what lies beneath.
The management can only shoulder so much responsibility, and sometimes the players need to shoulder more. That also comes from Joyce’s current role as Galway Under-20 football manager, where he suggests younger players these days are maybe mollycoddled a bit too much.
“You find the difference with lads nowadays from when I was there 20 years ago, there’s an awful difference in attitude,” says Joyce, who in 1998 helped end Galway’s 32-year wait for the All-Ireland title, winning again in 2001, before retiring at end of 2012.
“Like the phones are huge nowadays, and they are probably more mollycoddled by mothers and fathers than they should be, but you’ve to try and get them from boys to men as quick as you can.
“It’s not even that the phones are an issue, it’s just that the lads are bad communicators, they probably chat through Snapchat. Sitting down in the dressingroom, they hardly talk to a fella, especially from different clubs, and it’s something we’ve done is to try to get them in talking to each other and they are.
“They’re getting there, and you have to watch it as well because society has changed an awful lot since my time to now. There’s a lot of dangers out there as such and a lot of people talking in their ears and telling them stuff, and some believe it and some don’t. That side of it is a lot more challenging than I thought it would be.
“I thought it would be a matter of just turning up and wanting to play but they’ve always something on, they’ve exams or their girlfriend’s birthday they have to go to. She’ll have one again next year, you know!
“It was a bit of a challenge but as of now, they’re fine. The games as well, we’ve had four games the last two weeks which took them out of their shell a bit. They’d be a bit shy, they’d be afraid to tell a fella to get out of the way or space but now they’re starting to do it a bit, yeah.”
Speaking in Croke Park at the announcement of EirGrid’s continued sponsorship for another five years of the Under-20 All-Ireland football championship, Joyce saw several flaws in Sunday’s six-point defeat to Roscommon – including the lack of will among the Galway players.
“Look, I’ve been involved myself in poor defeats over the years, like to Westmeath and Wexford and Antrim, the final one like we got bullied and were let get bullied. It kind of happened again on Sunday, in the second half. That was the disappointing side of it, there was no real fight for it.
“To be honest, from a Galway supporter’s perspective, it was a game they should have won. It’s knocked them back a good bit now so it’s hard to see, they have to go try lift themselves up to try and get back into it again.
“They dominated the first half, they pushed up and kicked 10 scores. And the wind actually changed in Galway’s favour but it was just a complete collapse. They sat back too far off them, let Roscommon play a bit of football. There was no real, I suppose if you like to say, passion or a bit of tracking runners or a bit of hitting going in, like. And Roscommon were getting a bit niggly with our lads and our lads just took it, which was disappointing, seemed to fold over.”
Joyce won those two All-Irelands alongside current manager Kevin Walsh, and reckons Galway’s chances this summer are slim: “Kevin will get stick for it but at the end of the day when the players go on inside the whitewash they have to understand themselves at this stage, they are long enough around, how to control a game and control a five-point lead.
“There is no easy draw there. No matter what team you get, they will have won two or three games on the spin. And you look at who they can get; Mayo, Monaghan, Tyrone, Armagh, all those good teams.
“Galway always produce forwards, but at times last Sunday we had only one player, sometimes two, and we were chasing the game. The lads themselves should know better than that, they need scores and they should be further in, closer the goal.
“You can have all the talent in the world but you need the work-rate with that and if you don’t have that, you will struggle. And they have to come out fighting the next day, no matter who they get in the draw, they just have to throw the shackles off and throw the kitchen sink at it and see where it goes.”