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Davy Fitz reveals Clare 'have exceeded' his expectations

The Clare boss joined a select club of people yesterday who have won All-Ireland senior hurling medals as a player and a manager.

Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald.
Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

CLARE BOSS DAVY Fitzgerald has admitted that his young side have exceeded his expectations and they are no limits to what they can now achieve.

Clare bridged a 16-year gap since claiming the Liam McCarthy Cup with victory in last night’s epic All-Ireland final replay over Cork.

The Banner started the game with five current U21 players and the success this year of a young team has been a marvelous achievement.

“They have exceeded my expectations unreal,” admitted Fitzgerald. “My job is that they are a bunch of young fellas and I have to take as much heat off them as possible.

“This crowd can do whatever they want. The only thing is, I was worried about transition because we have had good U21 teams in the past and we didn’t win championship games for years afterwards.

“If you look at Limerick and Galway they’ve had good (underage) teams. It’s how you mind yourself, it’s how you take care of yourself.

“That is the big thing about the lads, they know what I expect as a manager. They know what the conditions are to play for Clare and however long I will be there, them conditions will be there.

“Today is about celebration and in fairness I’ve broke their back all year. I haven’t allowed them much. They are going to be allowed do a few days of it now and enjoy it.”

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Pic: INPHO/James Crombie

Fitzgerald praised the contribution of his back room team, particularly coach Paul Kinnerk who was a key figure in implementing their gampeplan.

“Myself and Paul coach the team, and he is a great guy. When I sat down a year and eight months ago inside in Limerick, I told him, and this is on the record, we never played a short game in Clare.

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“Paul straight away said, “That’s it in one. I believe 100 per cent”. Myself and himself a year and a half ago, with the backing of the selectors Louis (Mulqueen) and Mike (Deegan), decided, we’re going to take a lot of flak but  let’s do it.

“We believed it would suit the boys the way we went about it. I have two unbelievable selectors and I mean they challenge me unbelievably. We fight like cats and dogs!”

“We would be not here today only for a lot of different people. There are a  lot of people in Clare responsible for producing Tony Kelly and the likes of him.”

Final Glory

After the pain of losing heavily in an All-Ireland final as Waterford manager in 2008, Fitzgerald yesterday bounced back to join a select club of people who have won All-Ireland senior hurling medals as a player and a manager.

“Winning it as a player is fantastic. There is so much more pressure on as a manager. I don’t want to let the boys down. There’s been a few tough years from my point of view. A lot of stick and different things and, God, does this feel good.

“Am I going to say anything to risk getting the back cut off me? Nah. I don’t think I need that. So happy for the lads. This is down to them, they are a fantastic bunch.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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