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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 17 July, 2019
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'He had to take that free on': Ollie Canning on Joe's late All-Ireland final shot

The elder Canning insists it was the correct call to shoot for the posts.

Joe Canning drops a late free short in the All-Ireland final.
Joe Canning drops a late free short in the All-Ireland final.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FORMER GALWAY HURLER Ollie Canning has defended his brother Joe’s decision to shoot for the posts in the final minute of the All-Ireland hurling final. 

Canning attempted an equaliser from a free well inside his own half, but it dropped short and seconds later Limerick were celebrating a narrow one-point victory. 

Some critics suggested post-game that the reigning Hurler of the Year should have worked the ball short, but the elder Canning insists it was the correct call to shoot.

“He had to take that free on. If he’d got a perfect connection he’d more than likely have scored. He did 99 per cent of it right because it was on target and only just came up short. Was he disappointed? Yes.

“But do you beat yourself up over it? No. You can’t, that’s just the way sport goes. You have to move on. He gave it a good shot. Joe took that free on and went for it. These results are never just down to one thing in a game either.

“What’s the old saying, ‘Hindsight is the foresight of a gobshite’. It’s very easy to say that afterwards, that he should have took it short. If he had gone short and if someone had intercepted it or if a shot eventually went wide, then all you’d be hearing is, ‘Why didn’t he go for it?’

“He’s hit them from that distance plenty of times before. It wasn’t outside his range, it was just probably outside his comfort zone but that’s a different thing entirely. I’ve seen him myself score them from that distance. Was he right to go for it? He was.”

Joe Canning dejected at the end of the game Joe Canning shortly after the final whistle in the All-Ireland final. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Ollie felt it was a good achievement for Galway to make it back to the final, given they only ended a 29-year gap without the Liam MacCarthy 12 months earlier.

“I feel that Galway did well to get back into the final. We’ve seen in the last few years that lots of teams failed to make it back to the final after winning it. Did Galway reach the heights of the previous year? Maybe not. The two replays, against Kilkenny and Clare, that really packed out their season.

“Maybe that wasn’t the ideal run to the final. That’s not an excuse. Limerick just came right. Once they got over Kilkenny they finished the season really strongly. To take down Kilkenny at that stage was huge and the momentum was definitely with Limerick from there on.

“Full credit to them for their win over Galway on the day. Galway came back strong, I don’t think anyone could say they didn’t give it everything but Limerick were the better team on the day.

“Galway winning it last year probably made it that small bit easier to accept losing this year. And look, I think Galway will be back again next year, they’re not an old team by any stretch.”

Joe goes up against Padraic Mannion and Cian Lynch for the player of the year honour on Friday night, three deserving candidates according to Ollie.

“These awards don’t bother Joe in the slightest, if they did then he wouldn’t be the player he is. The thing I like about it is that the players are voting for it, it’s not down to journalists or the public.

“But it will still come down to opinions and each player’s vote. To be fair, they’re all deserving candidates. You could have put five or six on the short-list.”

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Ollie Canning was speaking at the GAA Youth Forum in partnership with Sky Sports. This is the second year of a five year grassroots partnership which has seen Sky Sports extend its support beyond the screen and invest €3million directly into GAA grassroots. As well as partnering with the GAA in support of today’s Youth Forum, Sky Sports will also continue to grow the game through its involvement with the GAA Super Games Centers countrywide, an initiative which encourages more kids to participate and get involved in Gaelic Games as well as The GAA Games Development Conference (January 2019).

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Kevin O'Brien

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