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Canning insists U-21s could follow senior road to Leinster


Ollie Canning. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Ollie Canning. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Ollie Canning. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Ollie Canning can see a future where more Galway teams are playing competitively in Leinster, writes COLM KEYS.

After the success of the senior team's two-year foray into Leinster hurling, Canning now believes it is time for a debate about the merits of the U-21s getting involved at the same level, too.

But he'd stop short for now of pushing the case for Galway's club champions to follow the senior hurlers east.

"It's probably harder with minor teams training. A lot of them kids are at schools doing their Leaving Cert. Maybe it should be open for debate but I wouldn't like to say if it is a good idea or a bad idea.

"For U-21 level, they might look at it. Galway got over the semi-final this year but Tipperary fairly cleared us out in the final. Tipperary definitely looked like a team playing better hurling, a team game. Maybe at U-21 level (it would be appropriate) but at minor it would be harder.

"With clubs, it hasn't raised its head because Galway teams have been successful in the last number of years. Galway teams have won their fair share of All-Ireland titles at club level.

"The whole thing about Galway coming into Leinster was making Leinster more competitive and Galway more competitive. But I think at club level it is competitive enough."

Canning has defended the form of younger brother Joe, who has already admitted that this season he has been below his best.

Ollie feels the scrutiny of Joe's performances can be over the top sometimes.

"There was a lot of stuff in the media about Joe, a lot of people talking outside the camp by people who probably never even talked to Joe about his form or his injuries. If a guy doesn't have the best season in the world then there are questions asked.

"But what amazed me this year was that after some of the games we played, there was nearly more reported about what Joe Canning didn't do than what actually happened in the game. That kind of surprises me at times.

"He has set a standard for himself from when he was minor up along, that is something he has to live with and he will live with it and get on with it. His head is screwed on his shoulders, he is not going to get carried away.

Ollie Canning announced his retirement after the All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Tipperary but is bound to come under pressure from Galway manager John McIntyre in the coming months to reconsider.

Elsewhere, Joe Dooley was formally ratified as Offaly senior hurling manager for a fourth year by the County Board at a meeting in Tullamore last night.

Dooley will continue to be assisted by selectors Pat McLoughney and Brendan Kelly, while Francis Forde of Galway will join the management team as a coach.

Irish Independent