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Monday 23 January 2017

Boom times for crafty Cannings' hurley business

Published 21/09/2011 | 05:00

Canning brothers Joe and Ollie display their hurleys at the Ploughing Championships yesterday last year.
Canning brothers Joe and Ollie display their hurleys at the Ploughing Championships yesterday last year.

GETTING cash from ash proved a winning business for an All-Star hurling clan at the Ploughing Championships yesterday.

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The Canning brothers, Joe and Ollie, are already the first family of Galway hurling, and are now going countrywide with a burgeoning business in handmade hurleys.

The recently retired captain of the Galway senior hurling team, Ollie, said he played his 14 seasons with a handmade hurley and wanted to challenge the growing tide of imported manufactured hurleys from Eastern Europe and other far-flung locations.

With another brother, Ivan, who is a carpenter, and three more brothers and a sister also involved, the family were well placed to harness their expertise and celebrity in the new business venture, based on the family farm near Portumna.

Younger brother Joe, who at 22 is one of hurling's brightest young stars, said there didn't appear to be a conflict of loyalties as youngsters from every county thronged their tent yesterday to purchase hurleys and get them signed.

"It's not just the county faithful," he said.

"You get a different balance on a handmade one, it just feels better and I think people are responding to that."

Sourcing sufficient homegrown ash for the hurleys, which retail for between €12 and €25, remains a challenge, much of it has to be imported from Denmark.

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It's hoped a Coillte initiative to revive native ash stocks will improve matters, Ollie said.

Irish Independent