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Geraghty hails Galway's Joycean play

By John Harrington

When Graham Geraghty was in his pomp with Meath, he played the game of Gaelic Football with a certain panache.

As a half-back he was dynamic and attack-minded, as a forward he was potent cocktail of flamboyance and ruthlessness.

He liked to play the sort of football that brought people to the edge of their seats, which is why hes looking forward to the visit of Galway to Pairc Tailteann on Sunday.

The era of massed the defence and constipated football pained him, so to see another team evolve back to a more attacking state like Galway have this year pleases him.

He has long said that teams have more to gain than lose by playing an adventurous brand of football, and believes the form of Galway so far this year in the League under new manager Padraic Joyce proves his point.

It goes back to giving teams the ball and Galway are not doing that, says Geraghty.

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, Pdraic Joyce was an attacking, 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 and the way they are able to express themselves and allowed to get forward.

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.

Galway manager Pádraic Joyce watching Sunday's Allianz Football League Division One encounter against Tyrone at Tuam Stadium.Galway manager Pdraic Joyce watching Sunday's Allianz Football League Division One encounter against Tyrone at Tuam Stadium.

Its taken as a truism that if you encourage the youth theyll flourish, but theres no reason it should be any different for adults.

That goes for sport as much as any walk of life. Tell a player youre convinced he has the ability to execute a particular skill or strategy, and theres a much better chance hell do it.

But if you hammer a player for every time he attempts a percentage play that doesnt come off and you preach the importance of safety-first above all else, then your team is unlikely to evolve all that much.

Yeah, says Geraghty, and I hate harking back on it but the defensive systems have kind of ruined football.

But now Galway are 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 saying 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.

Meath Captain Graham Geraghty celebrates with his daughter Sophia and the Sam Maguire cup following Meath's victory over Cork in the 1999 All-Ireland SFC Final. Meath Captain Graham Geraghty celebrates with his daughter Sophia and the Sam Maguire cup following Meath's victory over Cork in the 1999 All-Ireland SFC Final.

Geraghty is realistic enough to know that you have to sometimes cut your cloth to suit in terms of how you set your team up and that his own native Meath probably dont have the calibre of forwards that other counties do.

But he still feels they have a better chance of really mixing it with the elite if they throw a bit more caution to the wind than theyre currently doing.

Look at Meath over the past number of years, we haven't got a marquee forward, the likes of a Conor McManus for Monaghan, says Geraghty.

You look at Dublin and Kerry, the forwards they have.

We have developed playing a defensive system which doesn't suit us because we are a small kind of team. We seem to put everyone behind the ball rather than leaving players up front to win their own ball. It is frustrating, but you have eight teams up there.

The big teams are always going to be there and as you said it is tough. You nearly have to be playing Championship football in every game you go out, to stay up. We just probably don't have the players around to sustain that.

Being brutally honest, last Sunday I thought we were heading to Killarney for a hiding really, and I was surprised with the result, there was only three points in it.

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