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Galway’s Joe Canning names the best defender he’s ever come up against

joe canning

“He was a class act and I’m glad he’s retired now at this stage.”

Galway star Joe Canning is one of the best hurlers of all time. The 32 year-old has incredible physical strength and phenomenal skill levels.

Galway and Kilkenny played out some fantastic battles over the years, meeting in the 2012 and 2015 All-Ireland finals along with numerous provincial deciders.

Canning is no stranger to coming up against the Cats and he’s revealed that the toughest player he ever had to contend with was retired Kilkenny great JJ Delaney.

JJ Delaney was arguably the greatest defender of all-time.

“JJ Delaney of Kilkenny, I’d say he was the toughest for nearly every hurler,” Canning said.

“I always found him difficult. He was a class act and I’m glad he’s retired now at this stage.”

Joe Canning Galway

Portumna won four All-Ireland’s from 2006-2014.

“Club All-Irelands for sure,” Canning said when asked to name his career highlight.

“What we achieved in that space of time with the club was pretty special. Considering we only won our first county final in 2003 and then I think we contested five club All-Ireland finals in the next 10 years.

“To win four out of the five finals was pretty good going for where we came from in 2003.”

Joe Canning Galway

Joe Canning should be fit for Galway’s championship opener.

The five-time all-star winner is currently recovering from a minor thumb injury but Canning is expected to return for Galway’s Leinster semi-final against Dublin or Antrim.

“It’s just kind of an old injury, a bit of ligament damage. Just in a kind of a splint there for two weeks and I’ll be fine then again. I’ll be fine in two weeks’ time, just a bit of rest more so than anything,” Canning said.

Canning’s illustrious CV includes All-Ireland championships at senior, u-21, minor and club level. He has also won three Leinster championships, a Fitzgibbon Cup and has been named Hurler of the Year.

Canning was speaking at the launch of the Bord Gáis Energy 2021 #HurlingToTheCore campaign.


(Originally published on June 14, 2021).

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