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Joe Canning happy to see tension between Brian Cody and Henry Shefflin

Joe Canning

Joe Canning would much rather see tension than overt friendliness between Brian Cody and Henry Shefflin after Galway’s dramatic last-gasp win against Kilkenny.

Much has been made of the tense handshake between Kilkenny manager Cody and Galway boss Shefflin after the Leinster Championship encounter, given the long history between the two.

The two men won 10 all-Ireland titles together for Kilkenny, with Cody as manager and Shefflin as the star player, although they have now found themselves in opposite camps in the hunt for the Liam McCarthy Cup.

Galway legend Joe Canning was speaking at the launch of the 2022 Bord Gáis Energy GAA Legends Tour Series and questioned why people would expect anything other than tension between the two fierce competitors right after a game.

Joe Canning on tension between Brian Cody and Henry Shefflin.

“What do people want? Do they want the boys to be hugging and laughing and joking after what happened 30 seconds before it? In fairness, if I lost a game with a last second free I’d be pissed off enough,” Canning said.

“I think people just read too much into that sort of stuff. It’s a competitive sport and that’s all it is. It’s just a competitive streak in the two guys and they wouldn’t have won what they’ve won if they weren’t competitive and didn’t like losing. So that’s all it is.

“I’d take it with a pinch of salt. I’m sure they’re probably laughing at everyone talking about it now. I think you need to be talking about the good game that it was, because it was a good game of hurling from both sides.

“Kilkenny are hardly ever bet and we saw that again. Another last minute goal and Galway done well then to get the puck out and win the free and get the score.

“I think it’s blown out of proportion and it is what it is. I much prefer to see the two guys like that rather than hugging and joking after the game.”

Working with the Galway minors.

Although Canning is no longer playing with the Galway senior hurlers, he is still heavily involved with his county’s set-up, as he is currently working with the minor team.

While Canning admits that winning some silverware with the team would be nice, he believes developing the players is the most important aspect of his time with the minors.

“I’m just trying to get them to be better hurlers really, and better people. Just to pass on any knowledge that I would have had growing up and still do, and things I would have done,” Canning explained.

“Just give them little nuggets of information and try to make them better players and better people, as I said. It’s important that they carry themselves as well off the pitch as well as on the pitch. And just to make it enjoyable for them.

“If we can just develop them to become better players to progress onto Brian [Hanley] with the under-20s then obviously Brian will develop them a bit more to progress onto Henry [Shefflin]. That’s all we’re trying to do.

“I’m not too worried about winning stuff, to be honest about it. I’m more worried about trying to make them better players. When they come into us that’s when we progress them onto Brian and they’re better players.

“Winning will hopefully come along the way but it’s all about developing the player.”

Joe Canning doesn’t have any long-term ambitions in management.

Although Canning has taken his first step into management, he doesn’t currently harbour any ambitions to become Galway’s senior hurling manager in the long-term.

The Portumna man didn’t completely rule out the possibility, but he also admitted that his time in management could be very brief.

“Six months ago I didn’t know I wanted to be involved with the minors . I didn’t think I would be. So I’ve no long-term goals in that sort of stuff as of now. Who knows, in another couple of years, maybe,” Canning commented.

“But as of now, no, I’m happy enough. Like I don’t even know if I’ll be with the minors next year. I said I’d get involved this year and try to help out as best I can and I’m enjoying it. I don’t look too far ahead in these kind of situations either.”

Joe Canning and Cora Staunton pictured at the launch of the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Legends Tour series at Croke Park. Following two years of virtual tours, fans will once again join their heroes for in-person tours of Croke Park as they give fascinating insights into their careers. The tours, which start on Saturday 28 May, will feature both Joe and Cora as well as a host of legends from across the GAA world. Bord Gáis Energy customers will get the exclusive opportunity to attend all tours throughout the summer. The full schedule and details of how to book your place on a tour can be viewed at crokepark.ie/legends

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