After Galway’s defeat to Waterford on Saturday, talk of whether Joe Canning will now retire has heated up, with some suggesting that the Tribesmen need some young blood.
Canning became the all-time hurling championship top scorer on Saturday in his side’s losing effort in the All-Ireland Hurling Championship qualifiers.
The 32-year-old has now hit 27-486 in his career, and many believe that now is the time for him to step down and let the young players challenge him for the title.
Former Galway hurler James Skehill is one of those that believes Canning will retire now, as he spoke to Off The Ball after the match on Saturday.
“I think the big thing today was the Joe thankfully got the record which was a big feat for him and congratulations to him,” Skehill said.
“But I am not sure how much time he has left in the Galway jersey. You look at the panel as a whole, I think it is in need of rejuvenation. It is in need of an injection of youth.
“I am not sure what evidence there was today that the same group can challenge for an All-Ireland next year.
“So, I think there is going to be a lot of soul searching done… and I’d say there could be three or four retirements in Galway at this stage.”
While many agree with Skehill, former Cork camogie player and current Dublin coach Sarah O’Donovan is not one of them.
Speaking on Monday’s OTB AM, O’Donovan suggested that talk of Canning’s retirement should be shelved.
“I don’t think Joe Canning has to go,” O’Donovan said. “Tom Brady is still playing at 40, and Joe was still pinging it past to Jason Flynn yesterday.
“Leave Joe alone! Joe doesn’t need to retire, and if we are chasing the best out of the game at this stage, we need to cop onto ourselves; Joe doesn’t need to go.”
For O’Donovan, seeing players like Canning continue to play will push future stars to improve and force the old guard out, rather than them deciding to simply retire.
“Hurling is such an amazing sport,” O’Donovan said. “There will be better players, that is the beauty of it. Joe now has set the standard, Henry Shefflin set it before him.
“There will be players that will emulate Joe, no more than Eoin Cody; exciting players coming through. It is always going to be the future in hurling.
“But that is why I am slow to say goodbye to these guys, because you need the new guys to see these guys to their absolute prime and keep pushing them.”