Sport Hurling

Saturday 16 December 2017

Canning only played because it was the final - Kenny

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Joe Canning would have sat out any other game because of a knee ligament injury he carried into Sunday's All-Ireland hurling final replay, Galway coach Mattie Kenny has revealed.

"He had ligament damage on the side of the knee. He picked it up at training and he hadn't trained for the last 10 days. Our medical team had to go fairly hard to get him ready for the game," confirmed Kenny.

"Up to Saturday evening there was a big doubt over himself and (goalkeeper) James Skehill. If it wasn't an All-Ireland final Joe wouldn't have started, neither would James.

"It's just such a big match, you've got to get your best players out on the pitch -- these guys have got to make themselves available."

Kenny admitted that Galway's failure to spread their point-scorers more evenly over the course of the two games against Kilkenny was something they would have to look at.

Only Niall Burke and Canning (right) from the starting six up front scored a point from play in either game -- although David Burke got two goals on Sunday -- and Kenny acknowledged that even their score in the drawn game wasn't what you would associate with a winning All-Ireland final tally.

"It's something we've got to look at. We've got to get an even spread of scores. We felt in the final the first day, 2-13 wasn't a winning score. It almost won, but it wasn't really a winning score," he said.

"You'd feel you'd have to be scoring 2-23, 3-21, something like that, to win an All-Ireland.

"We are not telling these guys not to score. We have been scoring pretty high all year. I suppose Kilkenny's defence is tight and they made it very difficult for us. It's something we have got to keep working on in training, to make sure we get more penetration up front."

Kenny believes Kilkenny are All-Ireland champions because of sheer force of will, not any great tactical adjustment they made.

"I don't think it was a tactical issue. Just Kilkenny showed greater hunger on the day," he said.

"I suppose if we were playing them tomorrow we'd say we'd have to match that intensity, bring more intensity, more work rate to the game and more desire to get on the ball than Kilkenny would have.

"These games are not really won and lost on tactical battles, they are won and lost on the desire to get on the ball."

Kenny said he had no issue with the refereeing of James McGrath, but felt Cyril Donnellan's 'goal' should have been allowed to stand.

"From where I was standing -- we are not complaining about the refereeing -- that was a legitimate goal. Even if he had the whistle blown momentarily before that, the goal should be allowed to stand," he said.

"Pulling it back for a free is no advantage."

Kenny feels that an advantage rule which gives a referee a couple of seconds is something to be looked at.

"I think if a person is in the motion of scoring and a foul is committed, they should see what's the result first before they blow the whistle and disallow, or see how play develops for that second," he said.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport