Fitzgerald backed to keep lid on hype

Rising stars not fazed by media glare despite stunning All-Ireland success

Clare’s Tony Kelly: honoured on the treble last Friday evening when he collected the Young Hurler and Hurler of the Year awards, along with a coveted All Star gong. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Clare’s Tony Kelly: honoured on the treble last Friday evening when he collected the Young Hurler and Hurler of the Year awards, along with a coveted All Star gong. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Tue, Nov 12, 2013, 01:00

Clare star Tony Kelly has backed manager Davy Fitzgerald to ensure feet stay firmly on the ground following the hype that has swept through the Banner County following September’s stunning All-Ireland senior hurling championship success.

Kelly and a host of teammates who stormed through from the underage ranks have found themselves under intense media scrutiny since the spectacular Liam MacCarthy Cup success.

Kelly (19) was honoured on the treble last Friday evening when he collected the Young Hurler and Hurler of the Year awards, along with a coveted All Star gong. And while Kelly conceded that being recognised for Clare’s remarkable exploits “is not a bad complaint to have”, he’s confident that the players will soon return to the serious business of preparing for the 2014 campaign.

Kelly was back in club colours on Sunday as Ballyea beat O’Callaghan’s Mills in the senior B final, to ensure senior A hurling next year. And speaking to Clare FM yesterday, he said: “I don’t have the same problem as Mr O’Donnell (Shane) has but no, it’s grand.

“With Davy in charge, there will be no fear of any of the U21s on the senior panel. He’ll make sure that we’re right back down to business. [But] it’s something that you have to enjoy and relish it.

“This isn’t heard of in Clare hugely. It can get to some people but with Davy, Mike (Deegan), Louis (Mulqueen) and Paul (Kinnerk) in charge, it won’t be a problem with any of us.”

Kelly also starred on the Clare U21 team that cruised to Bord Gáis Energy U21 glory, ensuring a very first U21 and senior All-Ireland double for the Banner men.