fightback | 

Joe Canning expecting a sharp response from Tribesmen after Kilkenny defeat

Ambassador Joe Canning at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy’s ‘State of Play’ campaign to promote allyship and inclusion in team sports. Photo: Sportsfile

Ambassador Joe Canning at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy’s ‘State of Play’ campaign to promote allyship and inclusion in team sports. Photo: Sportsfile

Colm Keys

Joe Canning expects a significant kick from Galway in tomorrow’s first All-Ireland quarter-final against Cork in Thurles.

Galway are seeking a fifth successive championship win over Cork but are coming off the back of a disappointing Leinster final loss to Kilkenny. That, he feels, should draw the right reaction.

“It was a funny day, They just didn’t seem to get going at all,” he said of the Cats game. “They kind of needed a goal early on. They did create a few goal chances and if they got one of them, who knows, it could have been a completely different story. As I’ve said before, Kilkenny are difficult to beat, twice in the same year let alone in the space of a couple of weeks. It just didn’t seem to click.

“From my own experience, you can overthink things and analyse things and then maybe think too much about it. Maybe it’s just one of those days. Unfortunately, it obviously happened in a Leinster final. Hopefully it won’t happen again on Saturday and you’re looking for a good reaction.”

Canning recalls losing the Leinster final in 2016 and using the TV comments made by Ger Loughnane subsequently to motivate himself personally as they were playing Clare next time out in an All-Ireland quarter-final.

“He was calling Micheál Donoghue Fr Trendy and basically telling us we were useless,” recalled Canning.

“Obviously what happened in 2015 with Anthony (Cunningham) going and then not winning the 2016 Leinster final against Kilkenny, it was a perfect opportunity for Ger to have a go at us. But in one sense, him having a go at us set us up perfectly for the Clare match. Obviously he is from Clare. I used that 100pc and I have spoken about it before. Nothing new. You can use stuff like that. It depends on the circumstance.”

Cork won’t provide such fuel but Canning feels getting on top of them physically around midfield can make a difference against them.

He wonders about the perception that Henry Shefflin is “rebuilding” Galway, pointing to a recent exercise – conducted by GAA statistician Barry Cleary (@sheikhbarabas) and posted on Twitter – that collated the last 38 championship games of each of the Liam MacCarthy Cup hurling teams and presented them as a Premier League points table. Galway on 76 points were second to Limerick on 77 and seven ahead of Kilkenny on 69 in third, Canning pointed out.

“So we haven’t been far off in the last number of years, although we haven’t won titles. It’s a little like Liverpool in some ways this year, they’ve been there or thereabouts but they haven’t won the four titles.

“So it won’t be seen as a good year really, in some respects. I don’t know if it’s a rebuilding, we’ve been there or thereabouts but we just haven’t got over the line in some critical matches.

“There’s a serious bunch of lads there that Henry and the lads had to work with. I suppose there’s a familiarity with a lot of lads. Now there are some new lads in, but would you call them new either? They’re probably at the right age in their mid to late 20s that need to be winning something.”

Canning is back hurling for his club Portumna after recovering from another groin injury but has reiterated his view that the club season should start before inter-county in any year.

“I’m talking about the club being over in whatever, June. And you can still allow you guys to go to America. I think you are seeing it now in the last few days especially, I’m seeing football lads going over to America now. So will football club teams want to play without their players in championships? Probably not. So I think you are running into all sorts of different things coming down the line in the next couple of weeks,” he predicted.

Canning also feels the earlier start to the inter-county championship has put it in competition with too many big end-of-season professional sports games.

“They were competing with Heineken Cup matches, the Champions League final, and trying to get people to go to GAA matches. Like, it’s crazy. You had your shop window in September before, where there was very little competition and the only thing that seemed to happen was Electric Picnic.”


Today's Headlines

More GAA

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices