Galway’s Joe Canning retires from intercounty hurling

Decision comes days after Tribesmen were knocked out of the 2021 All-Ireland

 Galway’s Joe Canning  has announced his retirement from intercounty hurling. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Galway’s Joe Canning has announced his retirement from intercounty hurling. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Joe Canning has retired from intercounty hurling. One of the game’s outstanding figures, he had just broken the all-time championship scoring record of Henry Shefflin on Saturday in the disappointing All-Ireland qualifier defeat by Waterford.

Speaking on Wednesday in his role as a Bord Gáis Energy #HurlingToTheCore ambassador, he was asked about his future in the wake of the disappointing defeat.

“That’s it, finished with Galway now. I told the boys after in the dressing room, that was it, so have to keep my word a bit on that one. I will keep playing with Portumna, but that’s me finished with Galway.

“I was humming and hawing about kind of saying it publicly but then I was talking to my brother after and we said I probably should and cut out all this. There has been a lot of people wondering, would I, wouldn’t I, just to end all that.”

He accepted that injuries had played a role in the decision.

“It’s injuries and stuff like that. I had a couple of fairly serious ones over the year and 11 this year alone tore a hamstring after the Waterford league game and didn’t realise I had it for a few weeks.

“Just a little nick, a partial tear in my thumb as well - my finger, my heel, yeah there are four or five injures alone this year, niggly ones; it wasn’t getting any easier for me.

“I just feel the time is right. I don’t want to stay around too long either - just being there for the sake of it.”

He brings to an end a remarkable career from the moment he announced his arrival on the senior stage with 2-12 in an All-Ireland qualifier against Cork, having made his debut in the championship against Antrim earlier in the summer. He had also been an underage star, winning back-to-back minor All-Irelands and an under-21 in 2007, the same year that he won a Fitzgibbon medal with Limerick IT.

Four years ago, he crowned his career with a senior All-Ireland as Galway defeated Waterford to bring the Liam MacCarthy back across the Shannon for the first time in 29 years.

He also had a hugely successful club career with Portumna, winning four All-Irelands. During his career he won five All Stars and was named Hurler of the Year in 2017.

Canning, who will be 33 in October, confirmed that he had intended to retire this year anyway but had hoped it would be in different circumstances.

“As I said to the lads after the game, Saturday wasn’t the day I was planning to tell them. You were kind of hoping in August time, August 22nd, All-Ireland - that’s kind of your dream isn’t it?

“Yeah, I am content with it. It wasn’t a thing just because we lost, that’s it. As I said to the boys, I wanted to say it because we will never be in that group again. It was a bit raw I suppose, just the defeat more so than anything.

“But that’s life, as I said, it moves on; that’s just the way it is.”

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