Wednesday 21 August 2019

Tribe hope to rush Canning back to fill leadership void

 

Canning hasn’t played since suffering a serious groin injury in the closing stages of the league semi-final defeat by Waterford in March. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Canning hasn’t played since suffering a serious groin injury in the closing stages of the league semi-final defeat by Waterford in March. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Serious concerns over a steep decline in performance levels have left Galway manager Micheál Donoghue poised to make several changes for Sunday's Leinster round-robin clash with Kilkenny in Nowlan Park (2.0).

While the game may come too soon for Joe Canning, it's understood that he could be in line to return for the clash with Dublin at Parnell Park on Saturday week. He hasn't played since suffering a serious groin injury in the closing stages of the league semi-final defeat by Waterford in March.

Galway were unimpressive without him in the round-robin win over Carlow and the draw with Wexford - both in Pearse Stadium - fuelling fears in the county that unless there is a dramatic improvement, the 2017 All-Ireland winners may not even reach the All-Ireland stages.

That requires a top-three finish in Leinster, a task that leaves them needing to win at least one of their next two games, both of which are away.

There's particular concern over the misfiring attack, which, in Canning's absence, has lacked a focal point.

They scored only seven points between them from play in the clash with Wexford, with Conor Whelan accounting for three. There are also concerns about the half-back line.

Donoghue will have noted how Cork boss John Meyler and Limerick chief John Kiely reacted after poor performances by their teams in the Munster Championship.

Meyler made four changes after the defeat by Tipperary and was rewarded with a victory over Limerick, while Kiely dropped Diarmaid Byrnes and Darragh O'Donovan for last Sunday's successful trip to Walsh Park for the clash with Waterford.

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