This year of hurling so far has been defined by the growing amount of criticism of the high-scoring nature of the game. Joe Canning has shot back at critics of the Allianz League action, suggesting that people should be enjoying the hurling on show.
Former Kilkenny hurlers Jackie Tyrrell, Eddie Brennan, and Richie Power, have all voiced their concerns at the direction that modern hurling is headed in. Critics have noted the increases of long-range scores and scores from frees, as well as raising questions about what the high scores mean for the standards of defending.
Canning responds to hurling complaints
Galway hurler Canning was speaking to RTÉ Sport on Monday, and came out firmly against the criticism of the sport in the aftermath of the Allianz Leagues.
He noted previous examples of when high-scoring games were praised by members of the media, and suggested that the current climate may have people thinking negatively more so than usual.
People talk about the 2014 All-Ireland final, the drawn match, as one of the best games that we've ever seen. Do you remember the score in that? 3-22 to 1-28. That's 31 points each. People say that was one of the best games ever, and that's a high scoring game.
It's kind of a thing that somebody might say it, and then everybody jumps on the bandwagon and goes 'yeah, yeah, yeah, it's getting too crazy, the scores'.
Maybe it's just Covid or whatever, that people are getting negative about stuff. People seem to give out about things a bit more lately than they ever did.
Why look for the negative always, and try and change things when there's no real need to do it? We have one of the fastest field sports in the world. Why not enjoy it while we have it?
— The GAA (@officialgaa) June 6, 2021
Canning is a free-taker for Galway, and he disagreed with the suggestion that scores from frees are taking over hurling, noting a game from Galway's league campaign where he only contributed 0-4 from frees.
There was another thing about the frees being too much. But nobody reported then, against Waterford I think I only hit four frees. Against Cork yesterday, I think Evan (Niland) only hit seven frees or something like that (four and two 65s). That's not too many frees.
But nobody has said the free-count has come down in the last two weeks. All they're talking about is there are too many frees. Perception is sometimes skewed in a way that it wants to be skewed.
The final criticism that Canning tackled was the suggestion that the sliotar should be heavier. Those complaining about the hurling on show during the league have suggested that the weight of the sliotar is making it too easy to score from distance.
All-Ireland winner Canning argued that scoring from within your own 45 is still an uncommon skill, and that the sliotar is still the same wait it has been for over 15 years.
Even when you look at the frees, yeah fair enough (scoring from) your own 45. But there's a lot of things in that. Wind as well. That's a skill. I'd be worried if everybody could do it. But not everybody can do those kind of things.
It's the same about the ball, everybody is saying the ball is way too light, we need to make it heavier. When in fact, it's almost the same weight as it was back in 2005.
We haven't heard much from players on the complaints over the hurling league, so Canning's comments give us a fascinating insight into their perspective. We're sure not everyone will agree with his stance but perhaps his comments will change some people's thinking as we enter into the championship.
— Virgin Media News (@VirginMediaNews) June 14, 2021
Despite minor ligament damage to his thumb, Joe Canning will be hoping to be back for the first game of Galway's hurling campaign, the Leinster semi-final on July 3.