Joe Canning on Kilkenny's 'slow' start, switching between the lines, and Sunday's semi-final

Galway’s star man talks us through the first weeks of the Championship summer and looks ahead to Sunday’s meeting with Laois.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

On Kilkenny’s ‘slow’ start against Offaly…

“I don’t see where people are getting it from. They had 26 scores to 13 and were basically in second gear. The four goals? One hit off the post, one was hit from 21-25 yards out, one was just a high ball… they don’t happen very often and it was just one of those days.

“I wouldn’t read into any of the negative things that are said about conceding four goals. They scored 26 points and only conceded 13 scores. At the end of the day, it’s scary to think what they might score when they get up to top gear.”

On Galway being hot favourites against Laois…

“They have two Championship matches won and they have everyone they want hurling with them this year. Compare that to years before when they didn’t have guys due to football, injuries and stuff.

“They have a half-forward line there as good as any in the country. When you have Zane Keenan and Willie Hyland, they’re two forwards that would make most other teams.”

Zane Keenan in action against Antrim (©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

On switching between the half- and full-forward lines…

“It’s frustrating when you’re in the full-forward line, as anyone in there would tell you, when the ball isn’t coming in. You’d like to get on the ball the whole time and some games are different because you don’t get it. In other games you might get ten or 20 balls in so every game is different.

“I wouldn’t care if I never scored again, as long as we won matches. If I’m able to set up scores more so than score them, I get as much satisfaction out of that.”

On opponents trying to psyche out free-takers…

“It’s part and parcel that it happens. In football in the last few weeks when the goalkeepers are coming up there’s that extra pressure I suppose to run up the field and kick it. It’s just an edge that teams try to get now, more so in football, where frees are critical to score from because it’s so hard to score with the blanket defence. Any edge you can get by putting off the free-taker works for them obviously.

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan signals to the crowd after scoring a free against Donegal (©INPHO/James Crombie)

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“You get those kind of things, but that’s part and parcel of it. You try to block those things on and get on with it. It doesn’t really bother me. If you let it bother you, say something back and then miss the free, you feel like a right gobshite.

“It shows the competitiveness – they want to win and if that puts the free-taker off and he misses that’s a point less against your own team. In a way you can see why they try to do it. It happens in all sports, not just hurling or football.”

On being Leinster champions…

“Last year is last year, this year is this year.”

‘I’d like to give it a go’: Ciaran Kilkenny keeping his dual ambitions alive

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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