Pádraic Joyce: ‘The character shown by the lads was fantastic’

By Cian O’Connell

Galway manager praised goalkeeper Connor Gleeson following Sunday’s absorbing Connacht SFC Final at Pearse Stadium.

A lively second half unfolded at the Salthill venue with Gleeson capping a determined Galwegian revival, converting the winning free deep into additional time.

Joyce was asked to sum up the best moment of the occasion following the game. “Obviously the final whistle,” he responded.

“Great satisfaction, at the end of the day it’s a Connacht title, valued very highly up here.

“We were given no chance going into the game, a lot of talk about it. One thing I say, you can never question the character of these boys and the way they train.

“We’ve had a troubling year with injuries and whatnot, the loss of form as well trying to get every one right. I wouldn’t be overly happy with the performance, but when you beat Mayo in the Connacht final, it was great, the character shown by the lads was fantastic.

“I’m delighted for Connor Gleeson with that winner because he has sometimes been ridiculed and laughed at here in Galway over the last couple of years, for some reason. But by God did he stand up today and become a man.”

Gleeson nailed the 76th minute free which proved to be the decisive blow. “He had one or two hairy moments today, he wasn’t as clean as the grass or anything,” Joyce added.

“He was fantastic. To step up there at the end, he wanted that ball. He put his hand up, we had spoken about it before the game because Shane (Walsh) can’t kick the frees off the ground with his injury. He said I’ll step up, I’ll take them.

“In fairness, he put his hand up, walked up and struck it well.”

How difficult is to protect players from criticism? “Nowadays you can’t,” Joyce says.

“There are people out there, they can just pull out their phones and send a message on social media and it is all over the place, unfortunately.

“That is the world that’s in it. We let it in the left ear and out the right ear. I say to the lads, all that matters is what is in our four walls.

“If we can get ourselves right, we’ll have no one to blame at the end of the year only ourselves if we don’t get where we want.”