Comment: Only control-mad managers think doing an interview will stop a player from delivering a big performance
In a fascinating interview with Vincent Hogan in last Saturday's Irish Independent, Joe Canning talked candidly about a wide range of issues, on and off the hurling field.
It was honest, open and obviously without fears or concerns about what anyone might think of him featuring in a major interview the day before an All-Ireland semi-final. It was Canning being himself, doing things his own way.
A day later, he scored half of Galway's 22 points, including the last five when the pressure was really on, the best coming deep in stoppage time when he angled over a spectacular winner from close to the sideline.
Praise poured in - as it should - but imagine the sneers and criticism he would have attracted if he played badly and Galway lost. "That'll teach him not to do a big interview for the day before a major game," etc, etc.
For reasons that are neither apparent nor logical, locking players away, or else allowing them to do interviews where they have the platitudes well-rehearsed, has become the norm nowadays, certainly in the more successful counties.
In a comical irony, managers don't trust players to do interviews, yet rely on them to make correct decisions in the whitest heat of battle on match days. Some players want no dealings with the media - which is perfectly fine - but how controlling is it when those who are prepared to engage are not allowed because the manager says 'no'.
The moral of the story? Canning showed last Sunday that a player can do an honest interview and still deliver a big performance. But then everyone other than control-mad managers have always known that.
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