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Davy Fitz: My Clare side are the real deal

Clare beat Waterford yesterday to set up a Munster SHC semi-final showdown against Cork later this month.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

DAVY FITZGERALD’S EMERGING Clare are the “real deal”, according to the manager himself.

The 1995 and 1997 All-Ireland medallist was delighted with yesterday’s eight-point victory over Waterford – a victory that was Clare’s first in a Munster SHC tie since 2008.

Clare’s reward is a semi-final showdown with Cork at Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds on June 23 – where they beat the Rebels in April in the Allianz National League Division 1A relegation playoff.

Clare brought that form into the white heat of championship and while it’s still a little too early to start talking about the Banner men as All-Ireland contenders, Fitzgerald is predicting a bright future.

He smiled: “It will happen for them. This is a good bunch. It might not be this year but it will come for them.

They are the real deal – they will work very hard and they’re as honest as they come. They just need to mature and I hope people give them time to mature. I thought they played unreal stuff for the last 20 minutes.

When is the game in the melting pot? The last 20 minutes and I thought we showed unbelievable composure and character and fair play to them.

Fitzgerald was also commended for his post-match behaviour, when he refused to gloat despite being on the receiving end of some wild post-match Waterford celebrations last year.

The man who managed Waterford from 2008-11 insisted: “I’d have awful respect for them. You saw that in my celebrations today – I respect them and there are an awful lot of good hurlers inside there.

“They’re proud lads and they will come back. It’s not about getting one over on them, it never was for me. People were maybe trying to say the celebrations (last year) and things…no…it’s about winning a game and if you lose your focus going on other things, you’re wasting your time.”

Meanwhile, Waterford boss Michael Ryan lamented his side’s lack of a killer instinct.

Waterford should have been more than four points ahead at half-time before they shot four early second half wides.

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And Ryan acknowledged: “After half-time we had four good chances, we needed to take one or two of those. But we missed those chances and gave Clare a lifeline. Then they got a bit of a run on us, they got a couple of points in a row and then they got a goal and there was no catching them then.”

(©INPHO/James Crombie)

Clare pulled away to win comfortably but Ryan insisted that fitness was not an issue.

He insisted: “It looks that you are physically fitter and stronger when you are going well and on a run. It didn’t look that way in the first-half. I don’t think our physical conditioning was the problem. It’s just that we didn’t nail them when we had the chance to. Having said that well done to Clare, they fully deserved their victory, no qualms about it.”

Ryan also refused to condemn referee James McGrath, who awarded Clare a succession of scoreable frees which allowed the Banner County to draw level with less than twenty minutes remaining.

Ryan insisted: “I don’t think the referee was an issue today, maybe people might look at it that way but I don’t know I thought he was okay. I’d have no qualms with the ref.”

GAA wrap: Wins for Wexford U21s, Clare intermediates and Down minor footballers

About the author:

Jackie Cahill

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