Joe Canning believes the GAA need to factor in county training time before making a decision on when to start to 2020 All-Ireland senior hurling championship, adding that crowds will be massive given the lack of game time.
With all sporting activity ceased due to the ongoing pandemic, like many others, Canning is training on his own. When play eventually resumes, however, the 2017 Hurler of the Year believes teams would want three weeks to prepare for games if they are to be high-intensity championship clashes.
“It’s tough to do training on your own, especially hurling training,” Canning said on RTE’s 2fm’s Game On.
“It takes a while to get up to match fitness. You can be as fit as you want and run all day, but when you’re in the middle of a game and are getting hit in rucks or contesting balls, it’s a different kind of fitness.
“That could take two or three weeks of internal matches – I don’t think you’re going to get challenge matches against other teams either at that stage, so close to Championship. You’d want three weeks even to get your skill work up.
“There’s only so much you can do with a ball wall as well. You’ve seen all the stuff going round on social media for kids but it’s a lot different when you get out in the heat of battle in championship.”
With speculation mounting that both the hurling and football championships are set to go to a straight knockout format later in the year, the Galway man believes it is something the players will be familiar with.
The All-Ireland winner added that attendances will be massive upon the sport’s return, believing the absence of sport will only make people realise how influential it is in their lives.
“I’d welcome any match at this stage,” Canning said.
“There is a lot of talk about going back to the knockout format, it’s something most players would be familiar with. I’m not too sure if it’ll be like back in the ’90s, teams who get to Leinster or Munster finals might get a second chance.
“The crowds will be massive if ever it does come back this year. You only realise how much an influence sport has on people’s lives when it is taken away from you, even if it’s only the last three or four weeks.”