Canning shoulders his share of blame for Blues defeat
THE grimace on Joe Canning's face told it all.
He didn't want to be in Croke Park yesterday. He needed to talk to GAA reporters like he needed a hole in the head. And reminders of last Saturday and all contained within it were roughly as welcome as a puncture in a lifeboat.
Firstly, Canning voiced no criticism at the comments of Noel Lane, Brendan Lynskey and Conor Hayes. And given Galway's subsequent performance, that might have been expected.
Instead, he insisted that their standing within the county and prior achievements had earned them the right to say what they want, discomforting though they might have been.
In trying to explain it all, Canning seemed genuinely miffed, though he did somewhat candidly admit: "We have let a lot of people down but hopefully we can bring the good days back to Galway, sooner rather than later.
"You are always trying to prove people wrong -- that's sport.
"You have people who doubt you and that brings on a good sort of motivation. Sometimes it doesn't work like that.
"I suppose that is going to be the motivation for us the next day."
Obviously the blame games and finger-pointing will stay confined to the Tribesmen's dressing-room but Canning quickly accepted his own portion of the responsibility.
"I had eight wides but I was striking the ball better than I ever did," he said.
"Just nothing would go over. It was one of those days that I'll just have to write off in my mind and get over it.
"I went out to the field the following morning and pointed frees everywhere, so it's hard to take like that.
"You just have to pick yourself up and get on with it."
Michael Wadding, he felt, gave Dublin handier frees than Galway, particularly in the first half, but Canning quickly checked this conversational run, adding that referees, like everyone else, are prone to human error.
Praise for Dublin -- while not quite spat through gritted teeth -- wasn't exactly gushing all the same.
"They have a huge sense of tackling and intensity in their game this year that has obviously been in their game the last couple of years," Canning noted.
"Anthony Daly has done a brilliant job. I suppose we had chances but maybe bad decision-making or something, I don't know what it was.
"It was just one of those days, it's hard to explain."
As for what's next, Canning predictably threw out the stock answers and made no bold proclamations of retribution but tried to bend Galway's current predicament into something optimistically-shaped.
"The big prize is still there," he said. "That's still the goal from now on. If you don't have that belief that you're going to win an All-Ireland, you may as well not show up on Saturday week."