By Cillian Doyle & Debbie Ridgard
Joe Canning has announced his retirement from inter-county hurling citing a physical toll on his body from injuries.
The Galwy hurler has had three surgeries in the last five years on top of his recent heel and thumb issues, the reason behind his decision to step away from inter-county.
The Portumna hurler informed teammates of his decision in the wake of their All-Ireland Championship defeat to Waterford last Saturday.
"I knew it was going to happen this year, I just didn’t think it was going to be Saturday evening," he said speaking at the Bord Gáis Energy 2021 #HurlingToTheCore Media Day.
"If you go into a championship game expecting not to win, you might as well not tog out in the first place.
"I had nothing prepared. Everyone dreams about a lovely way to go out, and in my own head it was going to be 22 August, winning an All-Ireland.
"I want to be able to train the whole time and offer the same as everybody else. I have had a few serious injuries over the past few years. When you are nursing injuries, you can't get a good run at it, particularly this year in the league with my thumb. The hamstring went. My finger, my heel".
Canning explained why he felt now was the right time.
"I don’t want to be there as a token gesture, being part-time. I want to offer the same as everyone else. I don’t want to be there on reputation."
The All-Star hurler detailed why his announcement took a few days to be announced.
"I was humming and hawing about publicly saying it. I rang the brother after, and was like 'people are going to continue wondering am I staying on or not'.
"I didn't want to make or any statements or anything like that. He just said 'listen if you don't want people wondering if you're retiring or not retiring in the next few months, just say it'."
On his final appearance for his county, the Galway man contributed nine points, and with that, overtook Henry Shefflin as the leading all-time scorer in championship hurling, with 27-485 from 62 games.
The five-time All-Star won the All-Ireland Championship with the Tribesmen in 2017 and also won two National Hurling League titles.