Joe Canning leaves inter-county career with head held high and praise over-flowing
In the end, it all finished up at Semple Stadium in Thurles. The sun shone for the Déise, but it was going down for a modern-day legend.
Joe Canning sank to his haunches as Galway's defeat to Waterford truly sank in.
This was the end of the Tribesmen's quest for Liam MacCarthy glory, for another year. For Canning, a five-time All Star and a talisman from the moment he entered the senior team, that was it.
At 32 years old, Canning is calling time on his inter-county career. 2021's championship was the final time we will have seen Canning lace up the boots and give it a crack.
Fittingly, the Portumna clubman finished off his inter-county career by over-taking the great Henry Shefflin as the leading championship scorer of all-time.
Canning finishes up with those All Stara but, more importantly to him, three Leinster titles, two league titles and that 2017 All-Ireland win. He claimed the Hurler of the Year title that year, too.
Along the way, as there so often is when one is striving and sacrificing, there was heart-break and injury. Canning suffered serious hamstring and groin injuries in recent years, but worked his damnedest to get back and propel his county on.
Now that the decision has been made the retire, the accolades and acclamation will flow.
Galway will miss him badly.
We all will.
Even on the toughest days, he was one of the best of his generation. At his best, he was a joy to behold.