Wexford senior hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald has said he is willing to put his feud with Brian Lohan to bed if a meeting between the pair can be organised.
Speaking after his side exited the All-Ireland SHC in the qualifiers to Lohan’s Clare for the second year in a row, the Sixmilebridge man voiced his anger and frustration with criticism aimed at the Fitzgerald family’s involvement in Clare GAA.
All-Ireland winning manger with Wexford in 1996, Liam Griffin this week told The Irish Examiner that both Fitzgerald and Lohan should bury the hatchet before it is too late.
Tensions between the pair have not recovered since a 2014 Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final between Fitzgerald’s LIT and Lohan’s UL when the pair didn’t shake hands after the game. A subsequent clear the air meeting in the following weeks did not improve relations. After Clare’s exit from the 2015 All-Ireland SHC in the qualifiers for the second year in a row, Lohan called for a root and branch review of Clare GAA to be conducted by Ger Loughnane, the Banner were managed by Fitzgerald at the time.
On Saturday following Wexford’s exit at the hands of Clare, Davy commented, “People said to me, would you ever talk to Brian Lohan or any of this. I’ll tell you straight out, for the sake of Clare, 110% if someone got a meeting between me and Brian Lohan in the morning, I’d do it. I mightn’t like Brian Lohan and mightn’t have much time for him and the way he does stuff. He’d have the same for me. But we shouldn’t be at each other in Clare. If Clare are to succeed, they all need to be together. And I am saying it straight now, would I put it to bed? I’d stand up in the morning and I would go and talk to anyone, shake hands, and I’d put it to bed 110 percent. I don’t want Clare to be fighting with one another. We need to have a good hard look at ourselves in Clare and stop that”.
When asked on Saturday if he was glad to have got over Wexford and if he was fed up about the constant coverage between him and his former teammate, Brian Lohan responded, “Yeah, absolutely yeah”.
Fitzgerald said, “I’ll tell you something lads, I’ve experienced the toughest year that I’ve ever experienced in GAA. The way myself and my family have been treated is an absolute and utter disgrace. The way I felt all week, I didn’t even know if I wanted to come into this game to tell you the truth. I’ll put it to you like this – in Clare, the biggest problem we have is a small bunch of people that create problems. They think they’re helping and they’re not and I’m going to put it to you like this – very, very, very simply – I’m a simple person that loves GAA, I’ve one of the most ever played for Clare GAA. My dad, who I’m extremely proud of, has done an unbelievable job. The amount of abuse and stick and criticism that he has taken, unwarranted, is not – not! – justified. And can I say to people, people have brothers and sisters, mams and dads. People have people that actually care about them and what people in the media in Clare have done is absolutely disgusting. What people on social media have done is disgusting. What one or two people – one or two clubs – have done, instead of looking at themselves and how they can make their things better, they have tried to pull us into a place that we don’t need to be. The amount of support I have got from within 90% of Clare clubs is absolutely incredible. It is only the few who need to stop, need to stop, and need to work together”.
He added, “I hear the other night (Clare’s minor defeat), the first thing they’ll do is blame the county board for stuff. Easy target again. We need to stop that. I can see people that can get on keyboards and do stuff, have they ever gone down the field, have they ever worked with their clubs, have they ever done stuff? We need to get a grip in Clare so we do 110 percent and we need to work together. I’ll just bring it back, we all have families, we all have to get up in the morning and it hurts so much when your family is…but I am proud of my family. Let me say this 99% of Clare people are incredible people. The clubs of Clare are incredible. The few people that are creating the trouble, stop. Just stop. And work together.
“I can tell you 110 percent that me and my family will absolutely support Clare to the last, so we will. When I was a young boy growing up watching Fr Harry’s teams in the late 70s, I absolutely loved them and idolised them. My dream was to play for Clare and all I ever wanted to do was play for my own county so it was and I loved them with all my heart. It is not right what’s being done, it is not right. A bit of respect and people stop their egos and working together is more important, and I would encourage that to anyone 110% to work together. I mean that, I would talk in the morning to end everything. I don’t want to talk about any more of that again, but there is lies and stuff that was said early on in the year that me and my family are very upset about. That will all come to roost very soon”.
When it came to Wexford’s performance, the two-time All-Ireland winner reflected, “I’m extremely proud of them. Anything I asked them boys to do, they’ll do it. We probably stayed in Wexford for the first 15 minutes and gave them 11 points of a start and Clare played some great stuff and we let them, we let them attack the ball, we stood off them and if you stand off Clare they’re going to hurt you. But many teams would have wilted, we didn’t wilt. I thought we controlled a big part of the game after that so I’m extremely proud of the lads. To be totally honest, I have nothing but admiration for the Clare crew and I wish them the best going on from here.
“I have no complaints. We lost two games. Could we have won them? We could have won them but we didn’t. We’ll say fair play to Clare. I thought we played good enough stuff, just disappointed with the first 15 minutes. I know if we played the first 15 minutes, trust me, you’ve seen what Wexford are like.”
Had Wexford performed better in the opening quarter, he believed the outcome could have been different. “I thought we played good enough stuff, just disappointed with the first 15 minutes. I know if we played the first 15 minutes, trust me, you’ve seen what Wexford are like. We were actually right there, we gave away a soft goal at the end and I felt we were going to stick one down there and it was only a matter of time, we did but it was that bit too late”.