Pádraic Joyce: 'We'll definitely try out a lot of lads'
By Cian O'Connell
Galway manager Pádraic Joyce is hopeful a number of players, who impressed in club action, can make an impact in the 2023 Allianz Football League.
Ian Burke, an All-Star in 2018, Mountbellew-Moylough's Barry McHugh, and Salthill-Knocknacarra duo John Maher and Evan Murphy are training with the Galway panel at the moment.
"We're back since Thursday night," Joyce says. "We have a couple of new bodies in a bit of a development type of squad to try to make the current squad. That's what we have until Christmas. We probably won't have everyone back until January, to be honest."
"We'll definitely try out a lot of lads in the early part of the season to see if we can get probably the three or four lads that we might have been lacking last year with a bit of depth to try to help us over the line."
Joyce also confirmed that a further discussion will be held with Maigh Cuilinn's Peter Cooke soon. "We had a phone conversation a couple of weeks back, I wished him well with the club and we'll sit down and chat when it's over," Joyce says.
"He has a few things to sort out on his side with work in America and different things. Again, the ball is in Peter's court. We'll take him back with open arms if he's willing to come back - if he can.
"If he comes back, he needs to commit fully to it, not be coming and going to America. That's just the way inter-county has gone. If he does come back he'll be a big addition to us."
Seán Ó Maolchiaráin, who suffered a serious knee injury in January, may feature in the Spring. “He is okay," Joyce says. "He’s had a really peculiar injury where his kneecap kind of broke in three places. Our medical team are doing the best they can.
“He is going to the best experts in the country. It is a very unusual injury, because there are not many players it has happened to previously so they have no-one to compare it to. But he’s in the gym, he’s doing his work.
“He’s teaching now in Claregalway. He’s doing as well as he can. He’s on progress to make a comeback probably February or March, but again, you have to ask the question, is he going to come back from injury, being out for a year, and going to be able to play 19 games in a row. That's the big question for us.
“The main thing for us is that the young fella gets back healthy and gets back playing and we just take it from there."
Kieran Molloy, so impressive for Galway recently, is also ruled out for a significant spell due to a cruciate knee ligament injury. “He had his operation straight away," Joyce says. "Cathal Moran in Santry looked after him straight away, got him in.
“He’s 10 months, people say you might come back in eight or nine, but anyone that does, usually breaks down.
“Kieran is a great fella. In fairness to him, he’s been in the gym since the injury and his enthusiasm is unbelievable. He will be a huge loss to us because he’s a very good utility player for us. We could give him different jobs, different jobs.
“Never raise a question if he is playing corner back, playing midfield, whatever, he just goes and plays. He will be a big loss for us.”
Unfortunately Michael Daly, who missed the 2022 campaign through injury, isn't available yet either.
"Michael had a knee operation and he's just struggling to come back from that," Joyce states. "No one else really of note. Michael is struggling to get that knee right.
"If he was right we'd have him in, but currently he's not. I don't know, I think he's behind schedule on that knee rehabilitation he's doing.
"There are lads who have played club championship. Barry McHugh from Mountbellew was in before and he's back in with us after a great club championship. Evan Murphy would have been there before as well - he got a bad knee injury with us a couple of years back, but he's back again now.
"He played well this year in the latter stages of the championship with Salthill - he's a good, physical young fella. That's basically it. There are a few lads in from the clubs who are trying to impress."
Salthill-Knocknacarra midfielder John Maher also captured Joyce's attention. "John is another fella who was in with us a couple of years ago and then went travelling for a year," Joyce says.
"He's back and had a really good club championship this year with Salthill. He's a really good fella. He's committed to the cause and he's a fine athlete, so it's up to us to put a bit of football into him. He's back training and training well, in fairness to him.
"He's been really good. I spoke to John O'Mahony about him as well. One of the first comments he made to John about the club season was that he really wanted to invest in football, have a good season with Salthill and then get called into the Galway squad.
"John told me he was a real leader for the club this year in the dressing room. We'll give him a chance - it's up to him to take it."