‘He was a once-in-a-lifetime, a generational hurler and he’ll be a massive loss,’ says King Henry
Henry Shefflin revealed yesterday that he fully respects Joe Canning’s retirement from inter-county hurling and has praised the Portumna’s wizard’s decision to join Galway’s minor management team.
Admitting that he would “love” to have worked with the man who succeeded him as hurling’s record championship scorer, Shefflin reflected “Yes I did chat to Joe, but Joe was very comfortable with his position.”
There had been widespread speculation that Canning might reconsider his decision to retire when the 11-time All-Star was announced as a shock successor to Shane O’Neill in the role of Galway senior manager last October.
But speaking after making a winning Walsh Cup start against Offaly in Ballinasloe yesterday, Shefflin revealed “I think it was very positive for Galway hurling again to see Joe going in with Fergal Healy and the management team with the minors.
“I think it’s just a great sign. I’ve seen him in Loughgeorge Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings at 10am, so he’s very much hands on and wants to work for the betterment of Galway hurling. Would I have loved to work with him? Of course, I would have. You know he was a once-in-a-lifetime hurler, a generational hurler and he’ll be a massive loss.
“But it’s over to the other players now and they know that. They have to fill that void. A massive void to fill but they’ll have to fill it.”
Shefflin expressed contentment with Galway’s 2-19 to 0-19 victory in heavy Duggan Park conditions over an Offaly team managed by his old Ballyhale and Kilkenny comrade, Michael Fennelly.
“You come up here today and there’s a big crowd, a home crowd who want to see a victory,” he admitted. “So it is pleasing to get the victory. Especially the way the players went about it because Offaly have a lot of work done. Michael and his management team have obviously been with them a couple of years now.
“You can see that in some of their play,” added Shefflin.