Home-bird Canning cites ‘mental’ issues for Galway collapse

AFTER another season defined by a championship collapse, Joe Canning admits the Galway hurlers need to break down psychological barriers if they are to land an elusive All-Ireland title.

Galway’s emphatic All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Waterford, just a fortnight after they had appeared to hit a rich vein of form against Cork, has once more raised questions about their inconsistent form.

And their attacking star has no qualms in outlining how mental issues are hindering them.

“It’s definitely not a talent problem. We’ve all won All-Irelands at underage level. I think it was a mental thing more than anything against Waterford. It won’t be easy to fix. We know on the day we didn’t turn up. If you look at it, they were in exactly the same position as we were going into the Clare game. Everybody was writing them off, not giving them a chance, and saying they were useless. That’s a great motivation factor going into a match.

“I don’t like thinking too much about the defeat to Waterford. There’s more to life than drowning your sorrows. But I certainly would have thought I’d be playing in the month of August at senior level and I haven’t done that yet. A lot of people aresaying where we’re going wrong, that we’re bad, and some of us shouldn’t be hurling. But at the same time they don’t have too many answers. It’s easy to talk but we’re trying our best. We’re not going out there to play badly,” he said at a Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 HC launch.

The All-Ireland quarter-final defeat has cast doubt over the future ofmanager John McIntyre yet Canning does not apportion blame for their struggles at his door.

“I have good time for John McIntyre and the management. I don’t think it’s any of their fault. We were well prepared, felt good coming into the game, and it was just on the day we fell apart. He does have another year, but there will be some meeting to ratify that.”

Away from the pitch, Canning is focusing his energies into a burgeoning family hurley-making business. Having completed his marketing studies in Limerick IT, Canning has started the operation along with his older brother Ivan at home in Portumna.

“Some of the brothers were out of work so we’re just trying to start up a business and have a go at it. Thecompetition is fairly rife, even just around home there could be four to five other hurley makers. But we’re just trying to have good quality hurleys.

“Myself and my brother Ivan are flat out at the moment. We’d been at it for a couple of years kind of just messing around at home. Ivan was a carpenter as well. If you have an eye for it and you’re playing hurling all your life then you’ll pick it up. It’s just ash hurleys, 100% handmade. It’s slower than using a machine but it’s better quality.”

He has ruled out any plans to go travelling and is enjoying being immersed in the family business atpresent.

“I’m a home bird. I don’t see myself going to Australia or America for a long stint. It wouldn’t appeal to me. I like home.”

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