Canning was one of stars of Portumna’s success in the AIB All-Ireland club championship. Predictably, his form in the semi-final win over holders James Stephens and in the decider with Newtownshandrum has increased speculation about a possible call-up.
However, Galway manager Conor Hayes has ruled out his introduction. “He is an exceptional player for his age - in fact an exceptional player irrespective - but he has a lot to cater for already. He has his own club teams, along with the Galway minor and Under-21’s and he will probably be going to college next year,” he commented.
“A lot of people will be pulling and dragging him. He won’t be 18 until October. There is too much pressure on the young fellow to be dragging him into the senior panel straight away...”
Of more immediate concern to the management is tomorrow’s Allianz National Hurling League against Kilkenny in Pearse Stadium. On the broader front, there’s a lot of prestige at stake for both counties, Kilkenny all the more so since the Westerners got the better of them in a fascinating All-Ireland semi-final confrontation which produced ten goals (and 36 points). More pertinently, Galway need to win if they are to be involved in the knock-out stages of the competition.
After a shaky start to the campaign, Hayes has been fairly pleased with the progress made in recent games, pointing out that Tipperary ‘were not great’ in Thurles last week-end and that Galway had chances against Limerick - when they lost by a single point. “We are happy to get back in with a shout of getting to the final stages - if we win on Sunday,” he added.
“There has been an improvement, definitely”
Once more, they will be without some key players, notably Ollie Canning and Damien Hayes (along with Andy Smith the only Portumna players currently involved) and Alan Kerins. However, in the event of the team advancing, they would all be available to be recalled.. Other than the more practical value of the game, Hayes agrees that it should provide a useful guide to form in the context of the upcoming championship.
Hayes feels that Portumna’s triumph in the club championship will provide a further fillip to Galway hurling, commenting: “it was good to see a Galway club win the title, all the more so when it was a ‘new’ club. Their success will ‘rub off’ certainly on club players, especially those who met Portumna last year. They will be encouraged by what they have achieved.
“Anything like that is good for the county,” he said.
Champions Kilkenny will continue with their experimentation against Galway.
wrapped up a place in the quarter finals, have made six changes from the side that struggled to beat Antrim last weekend for Sunday’s top game in Division 1 B.
Manger, Brian Cody, has recalled captain, Jackie Tyrrell along with John Tennyson, his own son Donncha as well as Richard Power, Eoin McCormack and Aidan Fogarty.
The losers in this latest reshuffle were Stephen Maher, James Ryall, Bryan Barry, Derek Lyng, Eoin Reid and Eddie Brennan.
: PJ Ryan, M. Kavanagh, JJ Delaney, D. Cody, J. Tyrrell, J. Tennyson, T. Walsh, M. Fennelly, M. Rice, M. Comeford, R. Power, E. Larkin, E. McCormack, J. Fitzpatrick, A. Fogarty.