'We'll be fighting in this championship' - Davy's vow that Clare will respond

Clare head to the qualifiers after meeting a superior force.

Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald with selector Donal Óg Cusack.
Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald with selector Donal Óg Cusack.
Image: Ken Sutton/INPHO

DAVY FITZGERALD HAD no qualms admitting it.

His Clare team collided with a superior force yesterday in Thurles, seven points short on the scoreboard after a game where they never hit the high notes.

Their Munster campaign ended at the first hurdle yet as they head to the qualifiers, Fitzgerald vowed they will respond.

“Let me make this clear, we’ll be fighting in this championship. Clare are better than that.

“Wouldn’t it be great to meet down the road, ourselves and Waterford? I’d love that. Whatever the difference was, there isn’t that between the teams. That’s a fact.

“Waterford had the best of it today, no doubt about it, Waterford were the best team.

“The way they’ve things organised, they’ll be hard beaten if they play with that tenacity, that fire they had today.

“From Clare, we have no gripes with anything. I’m not going to make excuses. The better team won, that’s it.”

Clare’s day began badly when they shipped a costly early goal and at the other end, their accuracy deserted them as they chalked up 11 wides.

Those misses came from their leading marksmen as well with players like Conor McGrath and Tony Kelly enduring an off-day.

“The goal was an absolute nightmare to concede”, agreed Fitzgerald.

“But those things happen in games, you have to get over it. That was nearly a freak, the first goal, it crawled over the line.

“We missed a lot of chances, gave away a soft goal, you wouldn’t be happy with that. We had some bad wides from players who’d normally score, but they’ve been phenomenal.

“We’ve gone thirteen games unbeaten (this year), and I’m not going to criticise them. Every team goes through things like that, a time when the players don’t hit top form – Kilkenny, Galway, Tipperary, Cork, they’ll all have a time when that happens.”

Fitzgerald didn’t sense in the build up to the game that his team would produce a flat display.

“The funny thing is that you never know. You think they’re buzzing and you convince yourself – have I done everything, would I change anything?

“I don’t think so. We worked really hard, we gave them the week and a half off after the league final and they went back to the clubs, that’s fine. We had our training camp.

“It might have been a different game if we hadn’t conceded that goal and hit those wides. We could have been up a few points. But Waterford were the better team and deserved their victory.”

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The task now for the Clare players is the same that has faced them in recent seasons, to try and recover from a provincial exit.

“They’re disappointed,” outlined Fitzgerald.

“They lost a Munster championship game but we’ve come through harder things than what happened today.

“I expect them to be disappointed. We have serious players who didn’t perform, but we’ll raise it again.

“We have a national title under our belts this year, very few teams can say that and we’re not out of the big thing yet.

“I’m looking forward to the next day, the next battle, I can’t wait to go again. That’s my immediate feeling.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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