Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Galway's Joyce is homing in on quarter revamp

Galway star Padraic Joyce wants the four senior provincial football champions to be rewarded with home All-Ireland quarter-finals from next season onwards.

Joyce, who has backed Kerry to narrowly defeat Cork in next Sunday’s Croke Park semi-final, believes that the current championship structures do not favour teams who win the provincial titles.

Three of the four provincial winners – Armagh, Galway and Dublin – have exited the championship, while All-Ireland semi-finalists Kerry, Tyrone and Wexford have regrouped impressively following earlier defeats.

Joyce acknowledged that Galway benefited from the back door when they won the All-Ireland title in 2001, but he remains unhappy that the Tribesmen were knocked out this season after their first championship defeat, against Kerry in a classic quarter-final.

The 31-year-old said: "The system is against the provincial champions and it shouldn’t be like that.

“Going forward, the provincial winners should get a home tie in the quarter-finals. There has to be some reward. A provincial medal is okay and it’s great to win it, but there’s not as much kudos on it anymore."

Munster champions Cork provide the opposition for treble-chasing Kerry at GAA HQ next Sunday and Joyce predicted: "Cork have a lot of big physical men and I think it’s going to be tight. I think Kerry will nick it by two or three points but not by a margin bigger than that. Cork will have learned from previous mistakes against Kerry at Croke Park and will look to keep it tight early on."

Joyce, who first played for Galway in 1997, has made no decision about his future.

"We’ll see how the winter goes,” he said.

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