Canning a victim in Galway mystery
WHATEVER Ollie Canning said about retiring in the dressing-room last Sunday, he qualified it slightly by his later comments that "in all probability" it was his last game for Galway.
Retirement is a personal decision, one probably not best sealed in the immediate aftermath of a big game, especially one as emotionally churning as the Galway-Tipperary clash.
If it was indeed to be Canning's last game, he will join an outstanding list of contenders for inclusion on a team who never won an All-Ireland senior inter-county medal.
He won just about everything else with club and county but he would never have thought when he made his senior debut with Galway in 1996 that, 14 years later, Liam McCarthy would still be a stranger. Why that has happened remains one of hurling's great mysteries and certainly wasn't Canning's fault.
Galway people may be all giddy as they enjoy Festival week, thus forgetting about the mysterious psychological cloud that has settled over their county teams.
Last Sunday was the 12th time in nine years that Galway footballers and hurlers have lost a major game by a point. The footballers are the bigger culprits, losing championship games by a point to Mayo (2006 and '09), Sligo (2007 and this year), Westmeath (2006), Donegal (2009), Wexford (2010) and NFL finals to Mayo (2001) and Kerry (2004).
The hurlers lost All-Ireland quarter-finals to Clare (2002), Waterford (2009) and Tipperary (2010) by a point.
Now that's dark.