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Counties Could Learn From Galway About Abandoning Defensive Systems

mayo galway

With four rounds of the Allianz Football League played the Division 1 table is starting to take shape. 

While Meath look resigned to heading straight back down to Division 2 with one of Mayo, Donegal and Tyrone looking likely to join them. At the other end of the table, Monaghan are yet again punching above their weight sandwiched in between Dublin and Kerry.

The big story though is the form of Galway under the stewardship of county legend Padraic Joyce. The Tribesmen sit top of the table on six points and have done it playing a brand of football that is easy on the eye and adjacent to the style we are accustomed to seeing from such a heavyweight county.

galway meath

For the last number of seasons, the Tribesmen have been berated because of their defensive style. While defensive football has become a common theme over the past decade, Galway have taken more flak than most due to the rich tradition of Galway football.

The Tribesmen travel to Navan this weekend to face Meath in a top versus bottom clash in Division 1. One Meath man who had his fair share of battles with the Galway sides of a more traditional outfit in his pomp was Graham Geraghty.

The 1999 All-Ireland winning captain lamented the defensive style that had soured modern-day football, however, he is glad to see a traditional heavyweight like Galway move away from it.

galway meath

“I hate harking back on it but the defensive systems have kind of ruined football.

“They’re developing, they’re kicking the ball more. they’ve players up front a lot more. They’re a class side to see. But you see the club system in Galway as well, that’s the way they play attacking football. You know, teams are nearly afraid to go out and attack in case they are getting caught on the counter-attack.

“I’m always, well if you’ve got players in their half somebody has to mark them, they can’t be left there on their own so I think it’s something teams have to look at and can look at. At the end of the day, I think they are going to have to develop a system to beat Dublin and to beat Kerry and to beat the teams that are up there.”

galway meath

Geraghty believes that other teams could and should learn from Galway’s decision to abandon their defensive system.

“I think so, as I said, it goes back to giving teams the ball and Galway are not doing that.

“They are playing some fantastic football and players are there to express themselves but I suppose that comes down to the manager and whoever is over the team like Padraic Joyce was an attacking, and flamboyant player and one of the best players of his era and you seen that kind of brush off on the team and how they play.

galway gaa

“The way they are able to express themselves and allowed to get forward and you know, their forwards are scoring more so than any other teams where it is midfielders and half-backs and corner-backs getting the scores and there’s nothing wrong with that but forwards are forwards.

“And they are there for a reason and you know, to see them playing wing-back or dropping back into corner-back, it gets the blood boiling sometimes. But for me, Galway are playing very attractive football and at the minute you would say they would be kind of up there, contenders, if they can keep developing their style and bring their game forward. But it’s a long way until the end of August now at the minute.”

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