Clare hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald has admitted he was very badly bullied while he was a school student.
Fitzgerald said there was a two- to three-year spell where “a lot of lads were picking on me”.
The bullying took place as he was going to and from school on the bus. He recalled one incident where he had his shirt pulled off his back and bullies threw his shoes out the window and wrote on his body with a pen.
It got to the stage where he avoided travelling home on the school bus from St Flannan’s in Ennis, where he went to school, home to Sixmilebridge. Instead, he would take a bus to Shannon and then thumb home.
"It wasn't nice and it was something that even now, I try and watch out for," he told Miriam O'Callaghan on this morning John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio One. "I hate to see people being picked on."
He also recalled being “kicked and battered” by bullies who invited him to play football one Friday evening after school.
Fitzgerald (42), said he did not understand why he was picked on at school.
He said that when he goes out to speak to young people he is very conscious of the issue of bullying.
“We are all the same no matter how much talent we have. We come into this life with no money and we leave with no money. We’re all the same at the end of the day.
“We need to treat people with respect. It is one thing that I would be very, very conscious of. It does not cost that much to be nice.
“None of us are perfect, without a shadow of doubt. I think we should take care of ourselves and not worry about what Jack or Joe down the road is thinking. If you believe in something you should stay with it.”
Fitzgerald said the bullying he suffered as a child made him stronger and determined to fight for the things he believed in.
Before Clare were able to turn their season around, he received “nasty letters from strangers” criticising his approach to the team.
“Don’t take it in, these people don’t know you properly,” he told the radio show.