Ollie Canning shares the cardinal rule for all hurling defenders 5 years ago

Ollie Canning shares the cardinal rule for all hurling defenders

Ollie Canning knows a thing or two about defending.

The Portumna man won four All-Stars as a left-corner-back during his 15-year career with the Galway Senior Hurlers.


Canning's knowledge on defending is supplemented even more by the fact that he spent his first five years with his county, and is now playing with his club, in the forward line.

The three-time All-Ireland club winner with Portumna knows how forwards think, and this stood him in good stead as a corner-back.

Canning was speaking at Sky Sports' launch of their coverage of the 2017 Championship and he gave an insight on the attitude he had during his time as a defender and what he sees as the main responsibilities of a back-man.


According to the 40-year-old, constant concentration and an ability to keep your head up, even after making a mistake, is key.

"I think, as a defender you need more mental strength (than a forward), your concentration has to be 100% all the time. As a defender, what you have to do is you have to get over making a mistake or your man getting a score, you have to move on very quickly."

Canning commented that, as a defender, the ball isn't your main priority, it is in fact focusing on your man and stopping him from performing. A defender can have a good game without even touching the ball.

"Sometimes being a defender can be a bit negative, because what you have to do is, you just have to watch your man and you try to keep the ball away from him, if you can do that, you're happy and sometimes you have to sacrifice your own game as a defender to cancel out a very good attacker."


Canning was clearly fascinated with the art of defending. Every game, every battle he went in to was one he saw as a personal challenge, a duel with his marker.

"I enjoyed the challenge of being a defender, you're meeting forwards that are really good players. There was nothing more enjoyable for me in the game than taking your guy out of the game, you have to go into every game seeing can you keep your do a better job than him today.

"I always tried to keep my man out of the game or tried to keep him scoreless and try to keep the ball away from him. I really enjoyed that challenge."

Take note, defenders of Ireland.