Canning stands firm on decision to quit Galway
GALWAY'S Ollie Canning put the final nail in his inter-county career when he insisted he was "happy" with his decision to leave the Tribesmen panel ahead of 2011.
In the wake of their All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Tipperary, the 34-year-old admitted he had probably played his last game for the county and he once again ruled out any chance of a return next year.
"Yeah, that's it. I met with (Galway manager) John McIntyre a few weeks ago when he was getting the panel together and I was content with my decision then, and I'm still content with it now. I tried my best and gave my best at all times," he said.
"Last year, I said I'd give it another crack and go through the training, but I'm 34 years of age and it's not getting any easier. I'm possibly giving away maybe 14 or 15 years to some of these younger lads coming on so when you're looking at it from that point of view, it's scary.
"I wanted to make my own decision on it and I felt the time was right. There are different things. Training was tough this year and I picked up an ankle injury at the start of the year and that was my first time to get injured since I don't know when.
"I just felt that at certain times, my brain was telling me to do certain things and I wasn't getting there sometimes. That's something a player only knows himself, so I don't want to keep going and be a liability to a team or to a panel. I was happy to make a decision this year," he added.
Canning made his debut for Galway in 1996, playing first as a half-forward and then, since 2001, as a defender, where he won three All Stars (2001, 2003 and 2005). He was nominated for a fourth award this year and intends to continue playing with Portumna.
"I hope to stay with the club for as long as I can. I don't know how long that will last, but it's not as hard down the pitch in Galway as it is in Croke Park -- there are a lot of big spaces out there. Everything, like commitment, is different with the Galway team," he said.
"It takes so much time and you get to a stage of your life when you have to put your energy into different things and that's where I am at. I'm happy for the times I had with Galway, we had some great years and met some fantastic people."
Tipperary's All-Ireland-winning captain Eoin Kelly paid Canning -- widely regarded as one of the best corner-backs of the last decade -- the ultimate tribute after the Premier County's 2003 All-Ireland qualifier victory over Galway at Pearse Stadium when he was asked how the game went for him.
"Not too bad," said the Mullinahone man. "I managed to hold Ollie Canning to a point!"