Davy tired and happy as epic season ends with young guns on top
‘Flat out since February’ Clare boss gets his breath back
Some All-Irelands go deeper than others. This year’s vintage has already been deemed unforgettable and because of that, this Clare team will stay vivid in the memory regardless of what happens in the seasons ahead.
“The biggest test of a Clare team was when they brought us back,” Fitzgerald says. “Everything was going against us. It was down to the boys themselves. It didn’t come from anyone else training them. Them boys have incredible resilience. They are good kids, they are honest kids. They will never give up.”
Fortnight flew by
They are poised for better days. It is easy to forget that the county claimed an All-Ireland U-21 title in between the drawn senior final and the replay. For those involved in both teams, the fortnight flew by.
“It was easy for the U-21s because your man shipped us off to training and there wasn’t a word spoken about the senior All-Ireland, not a word,” said Tony Kelly. So we focused on that and came back in and then focus on Cork. So credit to both managements . . . it would have been easy for all the focus to be on Cork. They say make hay when the sun shines. We want to believe we can win every day we go out.”
Clare are there now. All counties, even mighty Kilkenny, look west to Clare and wonder what they have to do to get the measure of them. Clare are young, brimming with confidence and ambition. But staying on top is easier said than done. “It is how you mind yourself,” Fitzgerald cautioned. “How you take care of yourself. That is the big thing about the lads: they know what I expect as a manager and what the conditions are to play for Clare. And however long more I am there, those conditions will be there so they will. When we go out we go out to win. But that is for another day. Today is about celebration.
“In fairness, I broke their back all year and they weren’t allowed much. So they are going to be allowed do a few days of it now anyway and go out and enjoy it.”