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Direct route is best way to go urges Canning

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Hurling analyst Ollie Canning at the Sky Sports GAA Championship launch at Pearse Stadium

Hurling analyst Ollie Canning at the Sky Sports GAA Championship launch at Pearse Stadium

SPORTSFILE

Hurling analyst Ollie Canning at the Sky Sports GAA Championship launch at Pearse Stadium

Former Galway hurler Ollie Canning ponders the ultra-tight schedule and quickly concludes - the safest way to Liam MacCarthy success this winter is also the shortest.

Canning isn't about to give Davy Fitzgerald any fresh motivation by suggesting his native Galway will definitely be taking the front-door route, starting against Wexford on October 31.

Unlike their football counterparts, All-Ireland SHC contenders have the luxury of a second chance if they go belly-up in their province.

So Canning is adamant that winning your province is the optimum route. The entire hurling championship is scheduled to be completed in a seven-week window. Clogging up your diary with qualifiers and quarter-finals is not the wisest option.

Running

"If I was a manager or involved with a team, I'd like to play the least number of games possible. So you have to hit the ground running this year," said Canning, who will be watching it all unfold as a Sky Sports analyst.

"I would not like to be the team going through the back door or qualifiers. Because then you have games practically every weekend, with very little recovery time."

For Galway, will there be a bit of a bounce back after not qualifying out of Leinster last year?

"I think there has to be," he expanded.

"It has to be in players' minds that they have to come to the games fully prepared.

"The other thing, Davy Fitz has been with Wexford for a number of years now. They've got their game plan pretty much down. Whereas Shane O'Neill in Galway, he really has to get to know these players this year.

"They were building up a bit of momentum in the league back in February, but that momentum is gone now."

Any new 'outside' manager would have preferred a normal calendar but O'Neill "unfortunately did not get that luxury" in Galway.

"I think it's going to be a huge challenge for new managers when they haven't seen the players collectively- in Galway's case, right up to this week really?

The new boss should benefit on one score: a refreshed talisman in the guise of Joe Canning, admittedly after Portumna's short-lived SHC campaign ended in relegation.

"The last couple of seasons have been tough enough on him," his brother pointed out.

"Portumna were finished up pretty early, so this year has not been as hard as other years where you're trying to balance county training, club training.

"I feel Joe will come into this year's campaign very fresh."