*David Fitzgerald. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Championship hurling ain’t easy, for David Fitzgerald not alone had he to aim for an impeccable performance for the Clare seniors but he had to combine it with studying for equally as important college exams.
Fitzgerald is completing a masters degree in aviation finance at UCD’s Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Thus far he has two exams completed with a further three to go, two of which are tomorrow (Monday). “I won’t be long getting back into cramming because I don’t have much time but it was worth it, today was a sweet win,” he said with a smile moments after their one point win.
As Clare stayed overnight before Sunday’s Munster championship opener, the wing-back was trying to squeeze in some study on Saturday night and in the hours leading up to their game with Waterford. He stressed that sport and study were mutually beneficial.
“Hurling and study they correlate, when you’re frustrated with one, you look to the other and one is not going so well you can talk to the other. It’s about a good balance, a lot of the lads find that when you’re playing sport people think it’s your sole focus but academics is important for people too because at the end of the day it’s an amateur sport”.
Clare’s last memory of Walsh Park was not a pleasant one as the Déise dished out a fourteen point beating. Though comparisons between league and championship are few as Fitzgerald flagged. “Everyone knows the League is a different animal, you’re coming down here today the tar is melting, the cuckoos are singing and coming down here to get a win you know it’s a different ball game so it was a massive win for us”.
With several established players missing, the victory will build character for Clare. “We were missing Conor, Oisin, Ian Galvin, Conor McGrath is still out for a while, they are massive losses so to come down here and win with the home crowd being like a sixteenth player so that was big for us”.
“Diarmuid Ryan this year is flying it so far, Aidan McCarthy is 18 he’s like a young Messi he is absolutely tearing it up in training and he was unlucky not to make the starting fifteen. Ryan Taylor has been flying it too, these guys are in the background and when they get a chance they are determined to prove themselves so it’s good to see”.
On top of the study, the Inagh/Kilnamona man will be adding recovery to his to do list, though he’s keen that they don’t rest on their laurels for too long. “You can’t rest too much, it’s good to get the points but we’ve three more massive games coming, you can’t be pondering in the past because very quickly that’s going to come against you if you’re doing that instead of looking forward. We’ll probably recover this week and look ahead for Tipperary, then we’ve a quick run in of games so there won’t be much time to think after what we’re after doing”.