Davy Fitzgerald to take time out before deciding his future
‘I’ll sit down and talk with the family, health is number one,’ says Clare manager
Davy Fitzgerald and Galway boss Micheál Donoghue exchange views on the sideline at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
In three previous quarter-finals against the Tribesmen, Fitzgerald plotted victory, twice as Waterford supremo in 2009 and 2011, and with Clare three years ago.
But Galway finally got one over on Fitzgerald, as the Sixmilebridge man patrolled the touchline despite undergoing minor heart surgery earlier this year.
When asked if he will return for a sixth season at the helm next year, Fitzgerald smiled: “I intend to go home and relax tonight anyhow, that’s what I intend to do!
“They’ve given me another year, so I’ll see. I’ll sit down and talk with the family. Health is number one, and we’ll see.
“I love my boys (players), I’ll always talk to them anyhow because they’ve been so good to me and we have a massive bond together, myself and the lads. We’ll chat and we’ll see, whatever the story is. But I’m going to take a small bit of a breather now.
“National League champions, went to the All-Ireland quarter-final – for a county like Clare, not so bad, but there’ll be better days ahead from them.”
“ I must thank a lot of ye for asking, fair play,” said Fitzgerald. It’s nice to have people that care – that’s very important. . . it was a tough week but all the nice comments help and that. This is where I’m most at home, out here, and I love it, really enjoy it.”
Three members of the Order of Malta monitored Fitzgerald’s every move on the sideline. “I didn’t even know they were there! Listen, it’s grand, I was out there, got through it, thanks be to God. There was a point during the week when I’d have given anything to be out there.
“I’m disappointed for the Clare supporters, they’ve been brilliant to us all year. Naturally, a bit of stick to come from certain quarters but you just get over that.”
It didn’t take long for Fitzgerald to decide that he would be well enough to oversee operations in Thurles, following a discussion with Dr Niall Mulvihill. Fitzgerald revealed: “Dr John Clarke in Galway and Dr Niall in Dublin were brilliant. Five minutes after that [discussion], I said ‘I’m thinking of going on Sunday.’ He said ‘if you really want to, you can.’ He said ‘stay calm’. Sure that was never going to happen anyhow!”
Fitzgerald acknowledged that Ger Loughnane’s stinging criticism of Galway did Clare no favours yesterday.
He said: “We all know that. Listen, I’m not going to dwell on that. We’ll put it down to Galway and fair play to them, it was a great day for them.
“They can’t be a bad team having got to two All-Ireland finals and winning a Leinster.”
Galway boss Micheál Donoghue refused to be drawn on Loughnane’s comments, when the former Clare manager labelled him as Fr Trendy, a reference to the late Dermot Morgan’s former character on RTÉ’s The Live Mike.
Donoghue said: “Any day you get to a final, a provincial final, there are always people who are going to have comments and analysis of that, but with respect the only people that matter are people that we have respect for – family and friends and stuff.
“When we reviewed the Leinster final of course we recognised that there was lots of work we had to do, the past three weeks we worked really hard and I think they got their just rewards today.
“When a team loses there’s always a bit of criticism, and Galway seem to get the lion’s share of it . . . We know when it’s coming. We’ve worked really hard and I’m proud of the lads, we’re looking forward to the All-Ireland semi-final.”