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‘By God did he stand up today’ – Pádraic Joyce hails Connor Gleeson and Galway spirit in win over Mayo


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Gleeson is not everyone’s idea in Galway of a first choice goalkeeper and even in this game in Salthill he made errors.

But he stepped up to convert a 50-metre at the end to give Galway the lead, 0-16 to 0-15, and ultimately their 50th Connacht title, pleasing a manager who has so much faith in him.

“We all know stuff is written by different people that pressure was on us, (that) pressure was on me as well,” said Joyce, who has now managed Galway to a first provincial three-in-a-row in 40 years.

“You always feel it,” said Joyce of the pressure. “When you see articles written about different stuff on our side and nothing on the far side, it does get to you a little bit.

“For the lads, I’m probably putting more pressure on them than anyone else. We know the talent that is in the group. Hopefully we can push on.”

Joyce said it was impossible to insulate players from the ‘noise’ in the modern age but felt it brought his squad tighter together and ultimately created the conditions for a late surge that saw them land the last three points, all from frees.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Where Galway are now is in a group with Derry, who they have at home on Saturday or Sunday week, the Ulster final losers and Westmeath. For that, said Joyce, Gleeson can take a bow.

“The character shown by the lands was fantastic. I’m delighted for Connor with that winner because he has sometimes been ridiculed and laughed at here in Galway over the last couple of years, for some reason,” he said.

“But by God did he stand up today and become a man. He had one or two hairy moments today, he wasn’t as clean as the grass or anything. 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 (groin) injury. He (Gleeson) said ‘I’ll step up, I’ll take them.”

Walsh was left off the starting team, having been named on it during the week, but came in near the end of the first half and made an impact after the break, scoring two points, converting a free and winning another for Gleeson to put over. Mayo captain Paddy Durcan was a late withdrawal too.

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