Canning keen to make summer impact
JOE CANNING and Galway kick off another season when they take on UCD in Belfield on Sunday and the Portumna man already has a goal for the year: to be still hurling with Galway in August.
Canning begins his fifth season of Galway senior inter-county hurling, with Anthony Cunningham becoming his third manager after Ger Loughnane and John McIntyre, but after a stellar underage career, an All-Ireland semi-final place continues to elude him.
"You'd dream about those kind of things, playing in an All-Ireland final. I am playing senior hurling now for the past four years and I haven't played in an All-Ireland semi-final yet. I haven't played in August yet for Galway. I suppose that's frustrating, but that's life, you have to stay plugging away."
Cunningham will continue to combine Galway duty with managing Leinster senior club football champions Garrycastle, who take on Roscommon's St Brigid's in the All-Ireland semi-final on February 18.
His busy schedule was further complicated after he damaged an Achilles while patrolling the touchline in their Leinster final win, forcing him to use crutches. However, after leading the Tribesmen's U-21s to All-Ireland success as well as steering Garrycastle to a third successive county title in 2011, Canning believes the 1987 and '88 Liam MacCarthy winner will have no problem fulfilling his duties.
"He's doing quite well with Garrycastle and he's juggling it fine at the moment. Training is going well."
With only five games in the National Hurling League this season, Canning appreciates the importance of a good start to the campaign, which begins with the visit of Dublin on February 26.
"It is going to be tough because a lot of teams in the last couple of years have been treating the league a lot more seriously than before and it's almost getting into Championship pace at the moment. So, if you can get one or two early wins under your belt, you'd be happy enough with that."