Wednesday 25 April 2018

'That's my boy' - Galway match-winner Joe Canning celebrates with parents after landmark win

Joe Canning of Galway is congratulated by his parents Sean and Josephine, following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Joe Canning of Galway is congratulated by his parents Sean and Josephine, following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Galway centre-half-forward Joe Canning was pictured celebrating his side's All-Ireland SHC semi-final win over Tipperary on Sunday with his father Sean and his mother Josephine.

Canning scored 11 of Galway's 22 points as the Tribesmen edged Tipperary by a single point thanks to a 73rd minute sideline score from Canning.

6 August 2017; Joe Canning of Galway is congratulated by his parents Sean and Josephine, following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
6 August 2017; Joe Canning of Galway is congratulated by his parents Sean and Josephine, following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The Portumna forward, who sat down with the Irish Independent's Vincent Hogan on Saturday, spoke candidly about how much his parents and family means to him and the role that his father Sean has had in shaping his hurling career.

"He's old school," Canning said of his father.

"He grew up in a generation where whatever is in the paper must be true. Or whatever is said in town over a few pints on a Saturday night, that's it.

"We'll often have arguments about stuff like that and that's just him being my father, wanting me to be better. I'd be a bit worried if he came in to me on a Monday and said 'You did fine the last day, just do that again…'

Joe Canning of Galway is congratulated by his parents, Sean and Josephine, following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Joe Canning of Galway is congratulated by his parents, Sean and Josephine, following the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Galway and Tipperary at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

"He'd rather we'd score 36 or 37 points with me adding four or five from play and have lads coming up to him after, saying 'Jesus he was flying today!' I get that. That's what every parent wants. And we'll have it out, see each other's points.

"Maybe I wouldn't see his as much as he'd see mine (laughing), but that's part and parcel of it too."

Sean and his wife Josephine were both diagnosed with cancer in 2015,  his mother Josephine with breast, Sean with prostate, and its had a profound effect on how Canning views his life.

"It's embarrassing for me to say it," he reflects now "but it probably took Mam and Dad being sick to make me appreciate life and appreciate that hurling isn't the be-all and end-all. It seems a bit foolish looking back, thinking 'What were you putting yourself under so much pressure for?' Or letting the public get to me more than anything else.

"Like, I realise that there's different standards that I'm judged on. I didn't score from play in the last two matches and people are like 'Jesus, he was non-existent!' You can't really win, but you come to accept that as you get a little bit older.

"Nobody really knew Mam and Dad were sick, apart from people close to it. It wasn't a public thing. I'd be very close to Mam especially, because I'm the baby in the family. When I was growing up, she brought me everywhere. Dad would bring the older guys to their games but with me, it was always Mam and my sister Deirdre. I'm obviously named after her as well.

"When the two of them got sick, it hit me hard. Like, people often ask me why do I play hurling. Why do you do it? I do it for Mam and Dad, to make them feel proud. To see the smile on their faces after a game. Like every young person, I probably took what my parents did for granted. But their sickness made me appreciate what they did for me a lot more.

"That's the growing up part for me I suppose. I don't know if it's changing from a child to an adult or what..."

Read the full interview with Vincent Hogan and Joe Canning here

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