*David Fitzgerald. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Before a ball was pucked or a flake of snow fell in Cusack Park yesterday, the Clare panel expected a low scoring contest.
When speaking to Clare FM after Sunday’s draw, David Fitzgerald was not using the weather as an excuse for Clare only scoring 2-05 from play throughout the game and rather was answering whether he felt the game was slipping away from them.
“We knew going in the conditions were so bad it was always going to be low scoring and while Limerick were three or four points ahead for large periods of it, we always knew we would get chances to come back and Shane Golden went through like a train and took his goal perfectly and we arrived back into the game at the start of the second half so we pushed on from there”.
In the second half, Fitzgerald was involved in two off the ball altercations, one with Aaron Gillane after a penalty was awarded to the Limerick freetaker and the other was also with a Patrickswell man, this time Cian Lynch. For the handbags, he is inclined to blame the weather.
“It was more of a case that there was wet patches across the pitch which slowed up the ball which created rucks and led to a lot of physical exchanges but it was a bit of craic out there anyway”.
1-01 in the space of two minutes had Clare back on level terms at the beginning of the second half, for the Inagh/Kilnamona defender their first half flaws were clear to see. “We knew at half time we had a lot of areas to work on, Limerick fairly dictated things in the first half and we knew ourselves we had to work harder especially around the middle third and that’s what we addressed. From the get go, Shane’s goal and the few points we clawed it back straight away”.
Recent meetings between the sides have been quite entertaining for players and supporters alike, the off field atmosphere festered through from the stands to the pitch and did not go unnoticed by the players. “It was nearly like a championship game out there except there was snow,” the UCD student noted.