Tuesday 17 October 2017

'I found out stuff about Joe that I didn't even know' - Ollie Canning on Joe's interview with Vincent Hogan

17 March 2014; Portumna's Ollie, right, and Joe Canning following their victory. AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Final, Mount Leinster Rangers, Carlow v Portumna, Galway. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
17 March 2014; Portumna's Ollie, right, and Joe Canning following their victory. AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Final, Mount Leinster Rangers, Carlow v Portumna, Galway. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Jack O'Toole

Four-time All-Star Ollie Canning, elder brother of current Galway centre-half-forward Joe Canning, revealed to Newstalk's Off The Ball on Tuesday that he discovered stuff about his brother in last Saturday's interview with the Irish Independent's Vincent Hogan that he previously wasn't aware of.

In a candid and honest interview, Canning discussed the realities faced by modern intercounty players - including the GAA's strict drinking culture - as well as the uncertainty he faced when he was stripped of the Galway captaincy in 2015.

Canning was eventually succeeded as captain by defender David Collins, but Ollie said that he had no idea that Joe had to ring former Galway manager Anthony Cunningham to see if he was still the county captain; before Cunningham eventually awarded the role to Collins.

"It was a very honest and open interview and to be quite frank, I found out stuff about Joe in that interview that I didn't even know - stuff that he'd gone through in the last couple of years," said Ollie Canning.

"The illness to our parents, obviously it affected Joe in the way that he looked at his hurling. I mean, I wouldn't have said that maybe it did to that degree.

"When he said about the captaincy thing where his confidence is knocked, I didn't know that he had to ring the management - that he was left in limbo. You don't need that. You need some certainty in these things."  

 • READ - Joe Canning opens up on parents' illness, how losing Galway captaincy knocked his confidence and GAA booze culture

Canning said that being stripped of the captaincy was a big blow to his confidence, but that ultimately, he had known for sometime that the captaincy was not a role that naturally suited him.

"I had to ring and ask," Joe recalls. "For some reason, I don't know if I was injured or something, but I'd come back a little late that year and there were a few games that I didn't play in. I don't know why. But lads kept asking me 'Are you captain again this year?'

"Dad was asking me at home. 'What's the story?' And I'm 'I don't know...'

"Because I played one or two matches in the League then and I wasn't captain. So many people were asking, it was getting to me. Because I honestly didn't know. Usually, it's announced at the start of the year, but it was never really announced. So I rang and he (Cunningham) never really said I was or I wasn't. He was just 'Well, we'll see in a while…'.

"Then David Collins was captain for a few games and continued. And that's the way it filtered out. I was never actually told, 'Listen, we're changing the captain!' And that was a big blow I suppose to my confidence.

"It's probably selfish to say it, but it's the truth. It was the first time I'd been captain of nearly anything. The only other times were my last years at minor and U-21. And I knew for years that captaincy didn't sit well with me."

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