Ollie Canning unbiased in predicting win for Tipperary
Former Galway favourite has unsettling view for his county on All-Ireland semi-final
Ollie Canning is tipping Tipperary to beat his own county Galway on Sunday. Photograph: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile.
Using the logic before his eyes in the Sky Sports studio this summer, rather than emotional ties or brotherly love, Ollie Canning sees a Tipperary victory in Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.
“Using my head I think Galway will be really up against it,” said Canning. “Tipp are a really settled team. Pádraic Maher at wing back, Brendan Maher and Michael Breen in midfield and with John McGrath up front now they seem to have three or four players who have brought a new balance to it this season.
“They will be disappointed with the Galway defeat last year, even though it came down to a puck of the ball. Séamus Callanan had a really fine game but Tipp would have been disappointed with the forwards around him. That is not the case now.”
Still, Callanan is clearly the leading scorer in the Tipperary ranks with 2-25 (0-16 frees) from their three Munster championship victories over Cork, Limerick and Waterford. In contrast, Galway have a spread of scorers befitting of All-Ireland champions to cleanly debunk the idea they are overly reliant on Joe Canning.
Granted, Joe Canning has registered 1-30 in four championship matches this summer but Conor Cooney (2-10), Joseph Cooney (1-6), Conor Whelan (1-5), David Burke (0-7), Cathal Mannion (0-8), Jason Flynn (1-3) and Davy Glennon (0-4) makes them the most collectively impressive scoring team.
“Galway have unearthed some really exciting forwards but the problem over the last couple of seasons is we need a majority of players performing at a high level every game.”
Canning was speaking at the launch of Kirby Engineering sponsorship of eight European teams that will compete in Etihad Airways World Games taking place in UCD this week.
“Every player, including Joe, knows you won’t win at this level with two or three players performing. The group that has come together for Galway now are a very talented bunch, very natural forwards. Down through the years one criticism of Galway was we didn’t have enough finishers. We have four or five now but you need players winning hard ball around the middle of the field.”
That may see them use Johnny Coen’s pace against Maher and Breen, after Coen made an impact around centrefield against Clare. “A lot of people would feel that’s a more natural fit for Johnny as he likes the more wide open spaces,” added Canning. “He is a really fast hurler who thrives in that area.”