Honeymooning Galway star away for Connacht semi-final
MAYO champions Ballintubber may be without two of their key men for next Sunday’s Connacht senior club championship semi-final clash with Killererin, but the Galway representatives look set to line out without the talismanic Padraic Joyce.
Ballintubber boss James Horan has been forced to plan without regular goalkeeper Noel Gibbons and centre-half back, and captain, John Feeney due to injury.
However, the Galway representatives are also being forced to reshuffle their pack as Joyce, the three-time All Star and leader of their attack, is currently on honeymoon and is unlikely to return in time for next weekend’s big game at Tuam Stadium.
The 33 years-old was married last Saturday and is believed to be in the southern hemisphere this week. The Mayo News understands that Killererin are currently planning without him.
Meanwhile, Noel Gibbons (knee ligaments) is out and John Feeney (shin) is ‘very doubtful’ for next Sunday’s game.
Brendan Walsh, who came on for Gibbons last time out, is expected to start in goal with Declan Larkin in line to replace the experienced Feeney in the Ballintubber defence.
“We’ve got a lot of battered and bruised bodies,” James Horan told The Mayo News. “As well as Noel and John, four or five of the lads have got knocks and niggles so we’ll just have to wait and see how they are later in the week.”
Stagg Betting have installed Killererin (who won their last Connacht club championship title in 1978) as the 4/9 favourites to beat Ballintubber next Sunday. The Mayo champions are 2/1 with the draw available at 7/1.
“We know a little bit about them,” explained Horan. “I’ve spoken to some guys in Galway and I watched them against Corofin in the county final so I’ve got an idea of how they like to play.
“They leave a lot of space in their forwardline and Tommy Joyce likes to stay around the middle and set things up. They are very tight at the back, defensively sound. They’re a good side.”