One of hurling's all-time greats has departed the stage, with the announcement today that Joe Canning has retired from intercounty hurling.
The Portumna club man made the announcement at a Bord Gáis GAA event, and it has taken the GAA world by storm.
For years, Canning has been regarded as one of hurling's greats - not just of the modern age, but of all time. The highlight of his career was 2017's All-Ireland win with Galway, but just this weekend he broke the all-time record for scores in championship hurling, as part of a sensational performance on the losing side against Waterford.
Twitter reacts to Joe Canning's retirement
Naturally, the Irish Twittersphere was rife with tributes to one of Galway's hurling greats.
Tributes poured in on Wednesday afternoon to Canning's career, from the likes of hurling greats, former teammates, and former Gaelic footballers. Even those outside of the GAA world, like Irish rugby players, TV presenters, and comedians, chimed in with praise for Canning.
Micheál Donoghue won the 2017 All-Ireland with Galway, and Joe Canning was crucial to that success. In the aftermath of Canning's retirement, Donoghue kicked off the tributes with a simple statement.
A hurler and a gentleman. #JoeCanning
— Micheál Donoghue (@micd74) July 28, 2021
The following year, Canning and Galway came out the wrong side of an All-Ireland final with Limerick. Shane Dowling, who played for the triumphant Treatymen that day, chimed in with a sporting statement that praised Canning as the most talented hurler of all-time.
One of the all time greats! One of the most gifted hurlers, if not the most, that will ever play the game! I fair used love just sitting down watching him! There is no show like the joe show! Fantastic career 🤝🤝
— Shane Dowling (@dowlerznap) July 28, 2021
Tributes from the likes of Dara O'Briain, Tomás Ó Sé, and Duncan Casey focused in not only on Canning's unmatched ability, but on his great character and sportsmanship.
From the age of 19, Joe was expected to carry mediocre Galway teams to success & got scrutinised when he didn't. His performances were analysed in a way no other player has ever been.
2nd half of his career = more brilliance than anyone has ever produced.
He is the GOAT.#JC
— Eanna O'Reilly (@EannaOR) July 28, 2021
Joe Canning Retires!
100 years from now - people will still be talking about the skill, style, and determination of Joe Canning. How lucky we were to see him in action.
Surprise announcement today at the @BGEGAA event as Joe Canning retires from @Galway_GAA pic.twitter.com/1T7CBlqsa2
— sportsfile (@sportsfile) July 28, 2021
This is majestic. You might not get what he did until the third replay; by the fourth you’ll be weeping with the perfection of it. Joe Canning of Galway, who retired from inter-county hurling today. https://t.co/Js7G8mnUqa
— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) July 28, 2021
— O'Donovan Rossa GAC (@RossaGACBelfast) July 28, 2021
I dare say Joe Canning will still be a very strong contender for hurler of the century in 2099. Nobody can do his talent justice by trying to describe it, so I won't bother. An absolute freak.
— Duncan Casey (@BigDunc123) July 28, 2021
My favourite Joe Canning stat is the 27 pointed sideline balls in championship. The closest to him is Clare's Mick Moroney with eight. Austin Gleeson has the most of those still playing with six.
— Malachy Clerkin (@MalachyClerkin) July 28, 2021
He could do things that others wouldn’t dream of!
Thanks to Joe Canning for all the marvellous moments💥 pic.twitter.com/npgj8UPmzq
— Piaras Ó Mídheach 📸 (@SportsfilePOM) July 28, 2021
From the biography of Tony Keady. A story about Shannon, his only daughter, and Joe Canning. pic.twitter.com/1szr6j2XQB
— Maurice Brosnan (@m_brosnan) July 28, 2021
The last thing we need in a pandemic is the retirement of Joe Canning
— Marie Crowe (@mariecrowe) July 28, 2021
First time I saw Joe Canning in the flesh was against Cork in a qualifier in Thurles. This very loud Galway fan behind me kept roaring that "there's only one Joeeeeeee"... He was right. No show like a Joe show. Laoch.
— Damian Stack (@damianstack) July 28, 2021
Joe Canning. Class act in every way.
— Tomás Ó Sé (@tomas5ky) July 28, 2021
Think this in 2017 v Tipp was Joe Canning’s best score in terms of significance and execution under pressure. One of the great winning points in Croke Park.
— Fintan O'Toole (@fotoole13) July 28, 2021
Genius at work.
Joe Canning from the sideline vs Waterford, 2017pic.twitter.com/KgaS4QhNeS
— Richard Chambers (@newschambers) July 28, 2021
It's clear that his retirement has already left its mark on the GAA world, and Joe Canning will be sorely missed, not just by Galway, but by the hurling world at large when the 2022 championship gets underway.