"As a young lad coming in, you'd be chuffed if you got a score at all" - Canning's charge for record books began in 2008
First, they said Eddie Keher's record would never be broken.
After a career that saw the Rower-Inistioge sniper terrorise opposition defences for the guts of 18 years, his record of 35-344 (439 points) in 51 championship games for Kilkenny stood alone and it stood unopposed.
They said it would stand the test of time too but then along came Henry Shefflin. The King played 20 more games than his predecessor but he out-shot Keher by a whopping 126 points with his tally of 27-484 (565 points) in his 16 years in black and amber.
It's fitting then, that Henry's career overlapped with the heir to his throne as Joe Canning now looks set to shoot himself into hurling history. The Portumna ace sits just 13 points behind Shefflin in the scoring charts (27-471), having played 11 less games, and many are predicting that he will reach the iconic mark this weekend in Galway's Leinster championship semi-final against Dublin.
Páidí Fitzpatrick's journey, ageing Tipperary and Cork tactic.
- Liam Sheedy frustration
- Canning coming for King Henry's record
- Wexford are on a good year
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"It's incredible scoring. I don't think he'll break it this weekend though," laughed Dubliner Conal Keaney on this Thursday's GAA Hour Show.
Keaney is taken back to 2008 when as teenager, Canning scored 2-12 off Diarmuid O'Sullivan in one of his earliest championship games for his county. It was from that moment on when every hurling follower knew the game had another special talent on its hands.
"No, listen it's incredible scoring and since his debut, everyone can remember one of his first games was that game against Cork when he scored 2-12 off the Rock. He was only 19 back then which was unbelievable I mean, as a young lad coming in, you'd be chuffed if you got a score at all but look every game, he's racking up massive scores but look, credit to him," added Keaney.
The likes of Patrick Horgan and TJ Reid aren't far behind, occupying 3rd and 4th in the rankings of hurling's top scorers but given Canning's lead, his consistency and the fact that he's still going strong, it's hard to see him being passed out soon.
"He's one of the best around. He's racking up massive scores and his frees are excellent every single day too, which goes to show the amount of work he must put in. To keep on doing that consistently every single year, even though he gets a lot of belts and a lot of abuse, he just seems to get on with it. I'm sure he'll do it this year."
"There was a lot of that talk a number of years ago, that if Joe doesn't perform, that Galway won't win. But that pressure has levelled across now, across four or five lads and he's free to do what he does best, which is just to go out and hurl. That's kept him fresh for sure," concluded Keaney.