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Canning Calls Nonsense On Minor Hurlers Not Playing Before Seniors

Canning Calls Nonsense On Minor Hurlers Not Playing Before Seniors
By PJ Browne

The Clare minors and seniors, along with their Galway counterparts, all have big games in their hurling championships this weekend.

The Clare minors play Offaly in an All-Ireland semi-final on Friday night, while the Clare seniors face Wexford in an All-Ireland quarter-final on Saturday. Galway's senior clash with Cork on Saturday, while their minors play Tipp on Sunday.

Joe Canning does not see the sense in this.

16 June 2022; Pictured is Bord Gáis Energy ambassador Joe Canning, left, and Gearóid Hegarty at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy's 'State of Play' campaign to promote allyship and inclusion in team sports. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

"Clare and Offaly have to go to Thurles on Friday night, and then Clare people have to go to Thurles again on Saturday. Why not have the minor and the senior on Saturday? Then have the two Galway games on Sunday, or vice-versa," Canning said at the launch of Bord Gáis Energy’s ‘State of Play’ campaign.

"Supposedly Croke Park won't allow it to happen because they think it's too hard on kids, and too much pressure. When I was minor, that was all I wanted to do, play before a senior game.


"When you're a kid, you don't have any inhibitions; you just want to be out there playing in the big games. That's what you grow up wanting to do. And that doesn't really build resilience either, minding them and keeping them away from that."

Though he had not planned it when announcing his retirement from inter-county hurling last summer, Canning is part of the Galway minors' backroom team as a coach.

Galway have played just two games to reach this year's semi-final. Unlike the Galway seniors, who joined Leinster in 2009, and the Tribesmen's U20s, who have played in the province since 2018, the county's minors do not play in Leinster. Their championship started in mid-May in the quarter-final group, two months after fellow semi-finalists Offaly.


"It's a no-brainer, isn't it, really," said Canning, when asked if Galway's minor should be allowed play in Leinster.

"The more games you can play, the better. For instance, Clare are playing Friday night, and I think they've played five or six matches already through Munster and the round robin - it could be more (it's seven). We've played two. The development for the Galway minors compared to the Clare minors is chalk and cheese. I don't see why we can't be in Leinster considering the U20s are, the senior are."

Not being in Leinster has not prevented Galway from being successful at minor level in recent years. They've won seven All-Ireland titles since in the 13 years since the Galway seniors moved to Leinster. For Canning, being part of the minor set-up is not about winning, it's about developing hurlers, and individuals.


"It's basically trying to develop lads to progress onto U20s, and then the lads in the U20s will develop them to hopefully get onto senior. We want to develop them as players, even just as young men. They're only 16, 17-years-of-age," he says.

"It's not about winning anything. For me, it's about developing them to be better people, and better sportspeople.

"It's just about seeing the lads enjoying themselves and expressing themselves that's the most important thing. Just getting that enjoyment, and getting them performing. When you're training three or four nights a week, and they perform at the weekend, that's the most important thing; making them feel good about themselves."


As part of the campaign, Bord Gáis Energy, sponsor of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, has created 32 limited edition GAA County Pride t-shirts where county pride meets pride in supporting the LGBTQI+ community. The t-shirts are on sale from today at hairybaby.com for €20 and all proceeds will go to Focus Ireland to support young members of the LGBTQI+ community who are experiencing homelessness.

See Also: How Joe Canning Would Make Hurling A Better Spectacle

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