Lack of mental toughness cost Galway - Canning
JOE CANNING scratches his head and tries to find the words to explain Galway's season.
Somehow he manages to be defiant and at a loss all at once. They're good enough to win an All-Ireland, he believes, but suggests that the mental side of the game has been their downfall.
"It's definitely not a talent problem," maintains the Portumna man. "We've all won All-Irelands at underage level, everybody on the team. So it's hard for me to put a finger on it. It won't be easy to fix."
Defeat to Waterford ended their interest in the championship after which manager John McIntyre apologised to Galway supporters. A 'root and branch' review will determine McIntyre's future though current minor boss Mattie Murphy has already suggested that a clear out of senior players is what is required.
"It was a mental thing more than anything, I think. Even after playing badly in the first half, we were a point up at one stage, after giving them such an early lead. Just after half-time they got the momentum, and Waterford are a team that thrive on the supporters, and momentum, and things going their way, and it was very hard for us to get back at them.
"There'll be a new panel next year, obviously. (McIntyre) does have another year, but there will be some meeting to ratify that. But I have good time for John McIntyre and the management. I don't think it's any of their fault. We were well prepared, felt good coming into the game, and it was just on the day we fell apart."
Canning has yet to play championship hurling in August since making his debut in the National League semi-final against Cork in the spring of 2008. He admitted that, after a glittering underage career, he expected to have helped Galway make a bigger impact in the race for Liam MacCarthy.
"I certainly would have thought I'd be playing in the month of August, at senior level. And I haven't done that yet, in four years. We haven't got past the All-Ireland quarter-final since 2005. That's a massive thing for a county like Galway with such underage success.
"A lot of people are saying where we're going wrong, that we're bad, and some of us shouldn't be hurling, but at the same time they don't have too many answers, or what the problem is, and how we should go forward. It's easy to talk. But we're trying our best. We're not going out there to play badly. All we want to do is win for Galway, but it's just not happening at the moment."
After completing his studies in Limerick IT, Canning has started to produce handmade hurls along with his brother Ivan.
"Some of the brothers were kind of out of work for a while so we're just trying to start up a business and have a go at it.
"We could get a machine but they're not the same quality. They come out sh**ty really from machines.
"We wanted to kind of have different shapes, different weights. If a lad wants to come and get whatever he wants, we'll do it the best we can," he added.