Pádraic Joyce was thrilled that Galway simply found a way to defeat Derry 2-8 to 1-6 at Croke Park. Level at the interval, Damien Comer netted two goals after the restart as Galway earned a first All Ireland SFC Final appearance since 2001.
“There is a sign in the dressing room going out the door saying to find a way,” Joyce says.
“You have to find a way – whatever goes on. You are not always going to win a game by kicking 2-19 or 2-20, the most pleasing part is the lads did find a way.
“They eked it out, they put the shoulder to the wheel, worked really, really hard. They took the hits, they gave the hits, I think they completely snuffed Derry out.
“I think Derry are a brilliant side, they have had a fantastic year. Rory [Gallagher] has the lads in great shape.”
The fact that Galway eventually shrugged off Derry’s resistance pleased Joyce.
“It was great to win the game obviously, it started out very tight and very cagey,” Joyce reflected.
“In the first half you can try to get the lads ready for whatever scenarios you think, but we didn’t think it would be that defensive or slow.
“We were a little slow getting going ourselves, we were lacking energy. It was extremely humid out there, believe it or not, lads found it hard to get their second wind. We came in at half-time four-four.
“Just in the second half we said we would be a bit more brave, show a bit more energy going forward. In fairness we did, we tagged a few points on after half-time.”
Three Shane Walsh frees were followed by a Comer major which steered Galway six clear.
“The goal then was a crucial turning point by Damien,” Joyce added.
“He turned his man really, really well. It was a great ball in by John Daly, he turned and stuck it really, really well. From then on we were five or six points up with a cushion, it was easier to manage the game- the lads managed the game really well.
“They had been criticised before for the last couple of games for not managing them out right, but today they did – in fairness to them.”
Galway’s attitude and application which repeatedly forced turnovers during the game impressed Joyce.
“They did, it was great,” Joyce replied. “Semi-finals are for winning, it mightn’t be pretty at times. We have won it and we have a final to look forward to in two weeks time.
“We are going to enjoy tonight, we are going to enjoy the build up for the next two week.”
By Cian O’Connell