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Joe Canning Says Galway Teammates Blamed Him For All-Ireland Defeat

30 September 2012; A dejected Joe Canning, Galway, after the game. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
By PJ Browne
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Joe Canning feels some teammates blamed him for Galway's defeat to Kilkenny in the 2012 All-Ireland hurling final replay due to an interview he had given before the game.

Canning scored 1-9 for Galway in the drawn final, including the equalising point. The All-Ireland U21 final between Clare and Kilkenny was scheduled to be played the following week, and Canning attended a media day to promote it.

"I made a remark - a stupid enough remark - about Henry [Shefflin] not being sportsmanlike," Canning says in his episode of TG4's Laochra Gael series which airs January 26th at 9:30pm.

"In my next sentence, I said, 'but we need to be more like them'.

"Whatever way you want to look at it, I was actually complimenting them in a way that we needed to be like Henry and Kilkenny if we were to win the next day.

"I remember waking up the following morning and my phone was going mad. I was going, 'What the fuck is happening here? What did I say yesterday?'"

Kilkenny great Michael Rice says during the show that he was surprised to read Canning talking about his county, and Henry Shefflin.


"Henry wasn't focusing on it, but it was there in the background," Rice says.

"A few players used it as motivation for the replay."

Once he realised how big the story had become, Canning thought, 'Oh, the boys are going to kill me now'.


"Mam and Dad got a letter from Kilkenny that they burnt and never showed me, which is worse for me, I'd rather me see it and not them," he says.


"I remember the second day that I hit the butt of the post with a shot. It rebounded out and they went down and went four up, got a goal. It was the width of the post from being two up to being four down, and the game was over.

"Because we lost, I did feel that a couple of guys blamed me for the loss, and that's fair enough. I definitely felt that."


30 September 2012; Henry Shefflin, Kilkenny, shakes hands with Joe Canning, Galway, at the end of the game. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

During a video call this week ahead of the show's premiere, Canning added: "Nothing was said direct to me but I would have heard things back from other people. You would hear.... Do you know you would get that sense, not all of them but just one or two, but I don’t blame them for that.


"I would probably do the same myself if the shoe was on the other foot. I would be going, 'Jeez, why did he have to say that?'

"I take it with a pinch of salt, it is what it is. That is life. Do I personally think that was the reason we lost the All-Ireland final? No. But that is the way it is."

Canning said this was a "difficult enough" time for him, and one which led to a distrust of the media for many years.


"When you read the next line, I was saying we need to be like Henry and Kilkenny, but unfortunately journalists and the media didn’t read that or didn’t want to read it because they got their headline," he said.

"Yeah, it was stupid to say 'unsportsmanlike', no doubt about it, it was very stupid on my behalf, so I learned a lot from that.

"I learned an awful lot from that because I presume that ye (journalists) would have known that ye would not get as much access to me any more as ye used to. I did not trust journalists at all.

"It is funny, I am one myself now with my stuff in the Irish Times last summer so it is funny how it comes full circle but for a large part of my career I did not trust journalists one bit. That is being straight up about it and that is being honest because of that interview and how it was portrayed.

"So, yeah, it was difficult, and, as you see in the programme, it was difficult for Mum and Dad as well because they got a couple of letters in the post for me. It thought me a lesson as well.

"Yeah, we lost the All-Ireland and I felt at the time and still do, some lads blamed me for giving Kilkenny an extra edge."

See Also: Joe Canning Regrets Ousting Of Former Galway Hurling Manager

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