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Joe Canning: Connacht's form will inspire Galway hurlers and the rest of the west

Galway are getting ready for their Division 1A league opener against Clare next month.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE CONNACHT RUGBY team’s superb form will rub off on other teams in the province and inspire them, Galway’s Allstar hurler Joe Canning said.

Pat Lam’s side are currently sixth in the Pro12 and chasing automatic qualification for next season’s Champions Cup.

A 24-16 win against Munster on New Year’s Day preserved an unbeaten home record which now stretches back 10 games in all competitions, and also includes a win over league champions Leinster.

They put it on the line again on Friday evening when eighth-placed Edinburgh visit the Sportsground (7.35pm).

The emergence of a bright young group of players, led by rising Ireland star Robbie Henshaw, has fuelled excitement about the province’s prospects under Lam and Canning hopes that their success will breed more of the same out west.

“You always sensed that there was something happening,” he told the Down the Blind Side podcast.

“Even talking to Johnny [Muldoon] back at home, it was more frustration that they weren’t getting more points and more results out of it last year.

“There was always a chance this year that they would improve and get the results they’re getting so far.

To keep the unbeaten home record is fairly phenomenal at this stage of the year already.

Galway will be hoping to put last summer’s championship disappointment behind them when they begin their Division 1A league campaign against Clare on 15 February.

Anthony Cunningham’s side took eventual champions Kilkenny to a replay before losing in the Leinster semi-finals, and then crashed out against Tipperary in the first round of the qualifiers.

Canning added: “Any team that does well out west, it’s always an inspiration to any other team. It’s no different to the Galway soccer team [winning promotion to the Airtricity League Premier] last year.

“We take inspiration from the footballers and hopefully, likewise, this year some other team will take inspiration from us if we do well.

You’re always trying to draw from different teams and different successes out west and hopefully we can do something good this year.

You’ll want to move to Connacht and buy a season ticket after seeing this 6 Nations promo

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Niall Kelly

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