I’ll be back, declares captain fantastic Ollie

If he’d been thinking with his head, Ollie Canning surely would have pulled down the curtain on his hurling career yesterday on the greatest stage of all.

I’ll be back, declares captain fantastic Ollie

The 37-year old is a slave to his love for hurling and playing for Portumna, however, and instead guaranteed that he will definitely return for another season.

It is a remarkable testament to the former Galway defender’s ability that, at his age, and playing in attack, he was arguably their best player in both the All-Ireland semi-final and final.

Asked if he will definitely return, Canning nodded: “The answer is that I’ll be back this season with the club, for sure.”

Where Canning and Portumna go from here will make for intriguing viewing. By the ex-Galway captain’s own admission, they are an ageing team, with several of them around back in 2006 when they collected the first of their four All-Irelands.

He continued: “For a team to contest three All-Ireland club finals and then not get out of their own club championship for the following three years, it is a bit of a decline.

“It’s not unusual for people to say that the best years are behind this team. But that in itself gives a certain amount of motivation to the players.

“So for us to win the county championship, and then to contest the All-Ireland this year, and to win it, it’s fairytale stuff for the club which wasn’t on the hurling scene really until 2006.”

Responding to a separate question, Canning did accept that it’s hard to know how the current bunch of players will top this achievement.

He said: “I’m not too sure how we kick on from here. If you look at the age profile of the team, we are a team that’s been around for maybe the last 10 years, with the exception of two or three players that have come on.

“So there is a lot of miles on the clock. But the management were very careful during the year. We didn’t over train. We stuck to our three times a week. I think the management worked it well. We never felt we were burned out. We were always fresh in games.”

Portumna certainly got better as the game went on yesterday, though manager Frank Canning was disappointed they didn’t make life easier on themselves by hitting at least one goal.

Canning said: “Mount Leinster Rangers were deserving All-Ireland finalists. We knew that coming up and they proved that. We just couldn’t put them away.

“We always felt we were going to push on but we just couldn’t put them away, and that was a credit to them.

“We were always looking for that goal and the breathing space but they kept going right to the last couple of minutes. The edge was never off it so it was fair play to them for that.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up