In the span of 24 hours over the weekend, two great careers in modern inter-county Gaelic games were definitively covered.
Otherwise there was any hope of a reversal of past situations, but when it’s Stephen Claxton and Joe Canning there’s always going to be a long question about what their intentions might be, like it’s already different. said or implied.
But it’s not really over with players of this stature until it’s over and that’s why, confirmed to Dublin manager Daisy Farrell on Saturday, her side’s O’Burne Cup won over Galway. Wins over Offley at Tullamore and Henry Sheflin after their first game in charge. The bowlers in Ballinaslow, where they also won the Walsh Cup over Offley, were crucial, allowing everyone else to move on.
If either manager had left the door open, as Farrell found out last summer, it would have followed him for the most part of the league and even at the center of the championship.
Dotting the IS and crossing the T closes this out, as both squads face a new era, this may well be needed as the Claxton and Canning names were closely related by the same era. The counties feel like they are moving on from now on.
All-Ireland medal numbers may vary – from Claxton’s eight to Canning’s one – but no one doubts that the last decade for either the Dublin footballers or the Galway Hurler has the strongest connection to his name.
As much as they would depart from such personal attachment, it has been the Stephen Claxton era for Dublin football and the Joe Canning era for Galway hurling. Or at least the greater public perception of it.
Canning’s departure was a surprise when he announced it last summer, but inevitably, resolute and as he was in his firm belief at the time that he would not return, a repeat was expected when Sheflin took over. . But a quick move into coaching with involvement with the Galway minors indicated he was not up for the turning, a position Sheflin confirmed at Ballinasloe.
There is no suggestion to open the door, just a clean break allowing everyone to move on with it now without looking over their shoulders.
This is truly a new era for Galway Hurling and it needs to happen. They may not have the same retirement as Dublin footballers, but Sheflin knows they will have to make more structural changes than cosmetic changes during the next three years, which will take time and patience.
His call for others to step up now and “fill that void” felt like a challenge that a county with so many convicted minors is bound to answer.
The Claxton question never really left Dublin and Farrell’s orbit last summer. Even when he was sidelined with a suspension, the emphasis was placed on Mick Galvin in his caretaker role, first after a draw with Carey at Thurles and then a league semi-final win over Donegal at Cavan. Afterwards.
The presumption was that he was preparing himself to return, but there was never a greater conviction towards it. How can there be? Because really, who knew?
Oddly enough, Cia . But the same question was askedRA Kilkenny during a roundtable media interview later in the summer and when he replied that his former captain was on the “return-to-play” list, it was interpreted as a green light. As the men fighting alongside him in the trenches, didn’t Claxton’s allies deserve better?
When Farrell himself returned to the sidelines for the Wexford Championship opener, clarity could not be provided as much as he would have liked to give it and many of his players could do with it.
Claxton stepped in and all that but as to his future plans, Pharrell was none the wiser. And he had to follow his footsteps, tread carefully on the issue, because of the legacy he was dealing with.
The same conversations continued after the Meath semi-final win, with the same answers given.
But for his first public engagement, Farrell made sure the questions ended there and, again, ruled out any possibility of Jack McCaffrey returning. Paul Manion had essentially ruled himself out the day before, although injury may be stopping him now anyway.
The Experience Drain for Dublin is underway. Now that Claxton’s departure is permanent, 24 more All-Ireland medals (after Philly McMahon and Kevin McManamon) have left a dressing room that has already seen Sean O’Sullivan and Michael Daragh McAulley say goodbye in the past 12 months. Was. , not to mention those who left after five-a-line.
His on-field presence may have waned in recent years, but his shadow is long, no longer than that of Claxton. But now it really feels like a new era, once the last questions have been dealt with at the right time of the season. At least those left behind can move on.