*Davy Fitzgerald. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Ex Clare senior hurling manager, Davy Fitzgerald has backed his former teammate, Brian Lohan to continue to succeed in the role if given the time.
On Saturday, Lohan’s Clare eliminated Fitzgerald’s Wexford from the All-Ireland SHC with the Banner completely dominating the contest and hailed Tony Kelly’s exhibition as “off the charts”.
Speaking after the encounter, the Sixmilebridge man had no complaints with the result. “The best team won today without a shadow of a doubt. They performed unreal today and I couldn’t say a bad word about them. On the field, there were no bad belts. They worked and tracked and the one thing I will say to Clare supporters is please let them play the game that suits them. That’s what they did. I got a lot of stick in Clare because they wanted to go back to long ball but play what suits them. I’m part of a Wexford set-up and we congratulate them and say ‘well done to them’.”
Relations between the two managers have soured in recent years following tension relating to their respective periods in charge of the LIT and UL Fitzgibbon Cup teams. Nonetheless, Davy was keen to see the man who lined out at full-back in front of him for Clare be given the time and resources to carry out the job. “I wouldn’t have much time for Brian Lohan and he wouldn’t have much time for me but he was getting a bit of hassle recently, let him do the job. Give him whatever time he needs to do it and stop cutting him. We’re too fast to get down managers’ throats now”.
While he didn’t name Niall Romer, Fitzgerald expressed his disgust for the abuse he received from a member of the Clare backroom team. The Kilmaley man had been maor caman for the first two championship matches of 2020 but was seated away from the Banner subs and in the middle of O’Moore Park where he received a warning from stewards about his behaviour in the opening half.
Fitzgerald has called on Clare GAA to deal with the matter. “The way I was abused today is not right and it should be dealt with. The abuse and the stuff that was thrown at me personally by one individual there today, who was sent there to do it, is not right and it has no place in hurling. I would urge and encourage Clare to look at that and not let him do it to anybody else what he did there today. You can’t condone that behaviour”.
Following the game, the Clare panel made their way towards Fitzgerald and selector Brendan Bugler, it was a gesture lauded by the two time All-Ireland winner. “It means a lot. I think anyone who has seen me playing for Clare knows what it meant playing for my own county and the stick myself and my dad (Pat Fitzgerald, Clare GAA secretary) have taken at times is so unwarranted, it’s disgraceful, and it’s not right. It has to stop, end of story. There is no place for it in the GAA whatsoever. What they did out there and the sideline, in fairness, was perfect”.