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Cusack calls for GAA to address rule 'anomaly' after serious Canning injury

The Galway star will undergo surgery and could be ruled out for up to four months.

Canning after the collision with Kevin Moran in the league semi-final.
Canning after the collision with Kevin Moran in the league semi-final.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

DONAL ÓG CUSACK has called for the GAA to address a rule anomaly after a challenge left Galway’s Joe Canning with a groin injury that could see him ruled out for up to four months.

Canning suffered the injury after a collision with Waterford’s Kevin Moran in the latter stages of their Allianz Hurling League semi-final in Nowlan Park. 

The 2017 Hurler of the Year could miss the entire Leinster championship and will undergo surgery before his expected return in July.

The incident was ruled as a fair shoulder challenge at the time by referee Paud O’Dwyer, but Cusack believes there is an anomaly between the football and hurling rulebooks, which the GAA must address.

“It’s a big blow for Joe, Galway and the game of hurling as well,” he said on RTÉ’s League Sunday.

“If you watch the incident closely, it’s actually Jamie Barron who is in pursuit of Joe and if you watch both of their right feet, they get entangled. 

Hurling Rules 1 Source: RTÉ GAA Twitter Page.

“So, Joe is actually off balance by the time Kevin Moran comes in to hit him. I know we all talk about shoulder-to-shoulder (tackling), but the spirit of this is very important, and the welfare of the player is paramount.

“We looked at the rule and the interesting part of this is there is a provision within the rulebook to protect the kicker when they’re kicking in football, yet it isn’t there for hurling.

For me, that’s an anomaly and it needs to be addressed straight away. I would appeal to the powers that be that they need to address that situation and bring the same protection that’s there for the footballer as the hurler.

“And also, err on the side of protecting the player because nobody wants to see any hurler, let alone Joe Canning, injured in that way.”

Cusack was joined by Jackie Tyrrell on the show. The Kilkenny legend added that Canning’s absence will present a huge selection problem for Galway manager Micheál Donoghue as the Leinster round-robin series looms.

“Joe Canning is an elite hurler and probably playing the best hurling but nobody wants to see anyone carted off a field. At the end of the day it’s about the players and having your best players on the field.

“It is a concern that Joe is gone for 14-16 weeks. It affects Galway, Leinster, the whole piece. In 14-16 weeks it’s going to be the semi-final stage. Joe is so important to Galway.

They didn’t really get any forwards out of the league and there’s no real Joe Cannings hanging off the trees up there so they’ve a lot of work to do.”

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