Buy today's Irish Independent for the hurling fan in your life: it features a fabulous feature-length interview with Joe Canning, conducted by Vincent Hogan.
It's a very fine interview, with Canning refreshingly honest about a range of topics ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland hurling semi-final with Tipperary, a renewal of a rivalry which could well be widely-regarded as the best in the GAA over the last few years had the counties met in an All-Ireland final at some point.
Canning is intriguing on a range of different topics with Hogan, and among them is his attitude to the culture of alcohol in the GAA. Canning says that the "balance is wrong", citing the fact that the Irish squad had a few beers during the Euros and the Lions could knock a couple back before the third Test without the appendage of much wailing of tears and gnashing of teeth. It's different in football and hurling, says Canning:
But the amateur athlete does that and it's frowned upon. Because of that, the culture in the GAA is for lads to go on the piss for a day or two after a big game. And that's totally wrong for your body and for your mind. They end up sick for nearly a week afterwards because they feel they have to go ballistic.
I'm not for a second recommending a drink culture, but the balance is so wrong. You're always kind of on edge now when you're out. You're almost paranoid. And that's wrong too.
The interview hasn't been posted online, so best to get the paper. It's a terrific read.