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'In the first year Davy took over, we were sort of going: This lad is mad!'

Despite his public persona, Clare’s Colm Galvin says Davy Fitz is “calm and mellow” away from the pitch.

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald celebrates a score during their Allianz Hurling League semi-final defeat of Kilkenny.
Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald celebrates a score during their Allianz Hurling League semi-final defeat of Kilkenny.
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

THIS SEASON IS his fifth as Clare senior hurling manager and he has already guided the team to the biggest prize in the game, but Davy Fitzgerald’s appetite for success is still as substantial as it has ever been.

That’s according to Clare star Colm Galvin, who is full of praise for the former All-Star goalkeeper ahead of Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League final against Waterford in Thurles, where the Banner will aim to win their first title since 1978.

After below-par showings throughout 2014 and ’15, Clare booked their place in this weekend’s decider by displaying the kind of performances that brought them to an All-Ireland triumph three years ago.

Fitzgerald, who was appointed Clare manager in October 2011, is still the main man at the helm, but he has freshened up his management team for this season by introducing the likes of Donal Óg Cusack and bringing back highly-regarded coach/selector Paul Kinnerk.

“I suppose in the first year Davy took over, we were sort of going: This lad is mad!” said Galvin. “But… you only see the side of Davy at the side of the field, whereas Davy off the field is a very different character: very calm, very mellow, very easy to talk to.

“You see him when he’s animated. It’s pure and utter passion. I’d say he has the biggest passion for the game that I’ve come across and he brings that out in the players.

“Even after five years, you wouldn’t be really sick of listening to him because he brings such passion to the table. Bringing in Donal Óg and Paul coming back was a very good idea by him.”

Allianz Hurling League Final Media Event Clare's Colm Galvin and Waterford’s Austin Gleeson pictured ahead of Sunday's Allianz Hurling League final. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

Fitzgerald’s decision to draft in former Cork goalkeeper Cusack was one that initially raised plenty of eyebrows, but Galvin insists that it has already proven itself to have been a wise move.

He said: “They work so well together. People were probably thinking ‘this is a recipe for disaster’, but it hasn’t been. They both listen to each other’s opinions, including the forwards coach.

“Donal mainly works with the backs. From the goalie’s view, he knows what’s going on. He’s very good tactically that way. Davy tries to work a bit more with the forwards so they don’t clash too much. But they both bring great ideas to the table, as do Paul and Aonghus [O'Brien, coach]. They’re a great combination together.”

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Paul Dollery

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