David Burke and Joe Canning after the 2017 All-Ireland final. James Crombie/INPHO
tribe talk

'People underestimate his leadership': Joe Canning on the impact of David Burke's injury

Galway are without their 2017 All-Ireland winning captain.

GALWAY GREAT JOE Canning says David Burke’s long-term injury is a “huge” blow for the county.

Burke, the Tribe’s 2017 All-Ireland winning captain and all-time championship appearance holder, sustained a cruciate ligament knee injury in training last month.

“People underestimate his leadership on the pitch, his organisation and just being an influence on how the team plays,” Canning said on Monday.

“He’s able to read a game in a game, and there’s not too many people like him to be able to do that. If ever you watch him playing, no matter if it’s a free in to us or a puckout, he’s organising where everybody should be around the field from midfield. I think he’s a huge loss in that sense. But it’s an opportunity for somebody else to come in.

“Nobody will fill his shoes, but they might offer something different and just influence their own style of play. I think he is a huge loss, just for that leadership alone.

“Obviously everybody knows how good of a hurler he is, but I think what people don’t understand is the communication and leadership side of things on the pitch because it’s very hard to hear things when you’re on the pitch in front of 20-30,000 or 80,000. That side alone I think is a big loss to Galway.”

Henry Shefflin’s side were “happy enough” with their league campaign, with younger players like Evan Niland, Martin McManus and Declan McLoughlin stepping up, and all focus is on championship now.

bord-gais-energy-its-anyones-game-2023-campaign Joe Canning at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy’s ‘It’s Anyone’s Game’ campaign to promote inclusivity in hurling. David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

They welcome Wexford to Pearse Stadium for their Leinster opener on Saturday.

“It’s a dangerous enough game really to be honest for Galway,” Canning said, speaking at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy’s ‘It’s Anyone’s Game’ campaign.

“People probably don’t give Wexford the credit going into the game. I think Wexford are better than what they showed in the league, they were probably missing a lot of guys during league. If they have everybody back, it’s going to be a very big test for Galway.

“I’d be slightly worried that it’s set up for Wexford to come up and put in a performance and get a bit of a shock and I’m just hoping that Galway are mentally prepared more so than anything for that. I’m obviously very hopeful, Galway hopefully should win it, but Wexford are never easy to beat. It should be should be a good game.”

With Limerick widely tipped to continue to their dominance, Canning forecasts “a much more open championship” than expected.

The Portumna man points out that Galway, Clare and Kilkenny all came close last year.

Yesterday, Gearóid Hegarty spoke about Limerick relishing their position as “the team that everybody wants to lose”. Canning later offered his assessment of the Treaty and gave his take on how to stop them.

“I suppose when you’re at the top of the table, nobody really likes you. Everybody’s shooting to get you. It’s a good place to be but it’s a tough place to be.

“You might see a few slow starts from Limerick in matches, and then gradually get into the game. But if a team is mentally right for it against them and tactically right, you could get an upset.

cian-lynch-celebrate-winning Cian Lynch celebrates Limerick's recent league win. Evan Treacy / INPHO Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

“It’s a very hard thing too. Probably for me, I’d push up on the whole lot and just go all out attack and see how you go. I’d love to maybe play three in the full-forward line and just pump ball in as quickly as possible and see how it goes. Will it work? Maybe not. They’ll probably have another answer for that. But one thing’s for sure, eventually they’re gonna be beaten. If that’s in the near future, I don’t know.

“As people are saying to me in Limerick — I’ve lived there for the last few years — they’re thinking about six in-a-row nearly already. Nobody’s done five in-a-row in the hurling yet never mind six in-a-row. Obviously that’s supporters’ talk, that’s not players or management. That’s really tough as a player to not listen to, or hear it and get into your mind.”

Canning, the 2017 Hurler of the Year and five-time All-Star, has been enjoying new roles as Galway minor hurling selector and TV pundit since calling time on his inter-county career in July 2021. He has joined The Sunday Game panel for 2023.

“I’ve only done a small bit so far,” he concludes. “It’s funny, during the league, there was a lot of football games. I think there was only two hurling games. The night-time programme, The Sunday Game, done a bit of that. I’m finding it okay. Obviously in real terms, you’d love to be at the live games and stuff and watching them.

“I don’t mind commentating on them. I’ll try and be as fair as I can. I’m not out there to do anybody, but I’ll give an honest opinion and just say it the way it is. Enjoying it. It keeps me involved. I’d be at the games anyway, I’m still a supporter like everybody else at the end of the day.”

Get instant updates on the Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues on The42 app. Brought to you by Allianz Insurance, proud sponsors of the Allianz Leagues for over 30 years.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel