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Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE Ger Cunningham and Joe Canning (centre) were announced as judges for the Bord Gáis Energy U-20 Player of the Year Award.
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Canning calls on GAA to reinstate September All-Ireland hurling final date
The Galway talisman says the current format upsets the club calendar.

GALWAY HURLING TALISMAN Joe Canning has urged the GAA to push the All-Ireland final back to its original September date.

The GAA has condensed its Championship calendar significantly in recent seasons and is in the second year of a three-year trial with group sections in both the hurling and football competitions.

But All-Ireland winner Canning said that while this was meant to help out clubs and free up more time for activity, he’s actually had less games with Portumna.

And he claimed that having just one inter-county hurling Championship game in August – the All-Ireland final – and none in September at all is a giant promotional opportunity that’s been wasted.

Asked if he favours moving the hurling final back to the first Sunday in September, Canning nodded: “Oh yeah, yeah. Definitely. Even from a marketing perspective, if you want kids to play sport, have it on as much of the year as you can.

Because it’s not helping the club scene either. We played more club matches under the old system, during the summer, than we did under the new system. We would have played three club matches under the old system, compared to two now.

“I’d play the club championship early on in the year, maybe February to May. And then have the inter-county championship until the end of September. That’s the way I’d do it anyway.”

That would mean playing county finals in May.

“Yeah, yeah, absolutely,” said Canning. “And I think the senior Championship, the inter-county, is probably too short as well – because you’ve only one game in August.”

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Canning’s Portumna will return to club championship action on the weekend of August 17/18 despite the county team exiting the Leinster championship at the earliest stage in mid-June.

“The only reason I can fathom for it is that there are guys gone to America for the summer and clubs won’t hurl without them,” he said.

That’s probably the only reason I can find. I think it’s crazy that we’re not playing club matches in Galway in the last couple of weeks.”

The rare mid-summer break hasn’t done much for Canning’s mood with the Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland U-20 championship ambassador admitting he’d rather be still on county duty.

“A good few of the boys went to America and stuff like that, and you get a summer holiday for once, but you’d swap all of it, wouldn’t you?” he said.


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