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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 24 September, 2018

'Gary Neville and them aren't cutting lads. I love watching them because they're giving me information'

Davy Fitzgerald says hurling punditry needs to up its game.


DAVY FITZGERALD HASN’T watched back the tape of Wexford’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Waterford, but he plans on doing so over the next week or two.

“I’m going to leave it for a while but I know in my head,” he says. “I know, I know what I saw. I will go back and I’ll analyse it probably in another week or two.

“I’ll go over it and I’ll go over the Galway game non-stop. But I actually know what I’m looking for. I think the lads have a fair idea too.”

The big question for the Clare native is whether he’ll be back on the Wexford sideline for 2018. Although he was intially appointed on a three-year term, he’s refused to commit to next year just yet.

“Listen, I love it there. You have to realise the map from Clare to Wexford isn’t that easy. I’ve people at home that need consideration as well. There’s other bits and pieces. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying I won’t be back there.

“I just need a small bit of time to chat to one or two people and think it out. We’ll see. There’s just one or two small personal issues I want to take care of first and then we’ll see what the story is. I loved it. I loved what was down there and the support was very good to me down there.”

Davy Fitzgerald Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Since their exit from the championship, Fitzgerald has been having a public back and forth with RTÉ pundit Michael Duignan, who has been vocal about his disapproval of the sweeper system.

The Wexford manager feels some pundits are too sensitive when managers decide to defend themselves in public.

“I find this hilarious, actually. They’re allowed say whatever and I heard Michael saying, ‘ah he should take notice of what’s said in the press.’

“But I think Michael is a small bit put out that someone had a go at him! When you’re able to put it out there you should be able to take it from the other side.

“It’s tough enough being down in front of 50,000, that’s tough. And spending night after night going to training and watching DVDs and trying to work it out.

“I am quite clearly saying I will not get it right all the time or anything like that, but I am entitled to my opinion. And I think it’s very important there’s a bit of balance brought to it.

Faye McCarthy, Kevin Moran, Davy Fitzgerald, Brendan Cummins, Anthony Nash, James McInerney, Martin Donnelly and Aoife Murray Davy Fitzgerald was in Croke Park for the M. Donnelly GAA All-Ireland Poc Fada Finals Launch Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“That if you have an opinion that you’re able to say it. And I’d like to think in some of the stuff I’ve said that I’ve backed up a certain amount of it.

“I don’t want to put it all out there and you can understand why that is. Because if I’m going again I kind of like to keep some of it to myself on what I do.

“But it isn’t straight-forward, but there’s no war here. It’s important that we have balance and that you’re allowed say what it is. And the pundits as well have to be able to take a small bit of it themselves rather than react to it.

“But as you can see today, I’m grand! There isn’t a bother!”

Some of the most vocal critics of the Sunday Game say it focuses too much on opinion rather than analysis of a game. Fitzgerald believes pundits should be giving supporters a proper insight into what’s going on tactically during matches.

“You have to realise there’s a bigger picture. That’s the thing with Michael Duignan the last few days. I’ve no interest in having a go at Michael. The only thing I’m saying is there’s always two sides to a story.

“I have 20 years of management and, trust me, I made some amount of mistakes my first number of years and I’m still going to make them but there is another perspective out there.

“I said it to someone high in RTE recently. I said, ‘Will ye look at the whole thing of how we present it?’ Do we want fellas on to just be controversial and cutting lads? I personally now and I know there are a lot like me who would turn down the television because they want to learn about it. Then you have a certain amount of people who want to hear the controversy, that’s fine.

“I want to learn. I want to know more stuff. I want to see what actually happened there. I look over DVDs and I’m seeing stuff. Like, Micheál O’Donoghue did stuff in the Leinster final that was top notch. Top notch to go against what I did.

“Not one person analysed it on the Sunday Game. I know what it was. And it was fecking smart what he did in one particular thing.

“But I never saw one of them tell me what it was. I had a fair idea on the day what he was doing but couldn’t change it on the day.”

He concluded by referring to the popular Sky Sports programme Monday Night Football, where ex-footballers Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher give a detailed breakdown of the weekend’s games.

“I love that (Monday Night Football). Gary Neville and them aren’t cutting lads. I love watching them because they’re giving me information and I love information and seeing what’s going on and what’s different.

pjimage (9) Source: Inpho/PA

“Why do we want to cut? There are certain pundits and I will not read them. If I hear them say something I know they’re only doing it to make headlines. I’ve no interest in that. I want the genuine stuff.

“And there are a lot of sports people out there that want to hear the real meat of the story. Please let me say this again and again, I am not right in everything, I know that.

“But I love to learn and I love to listen to stuff. ”

Source: The42 Podcasts/SoundCloud

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Kevin O'Brien

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