INCOMING WEXFORD BOSS Davy Fitzgerald has spoken about the sense of relief he felt after stepping down as Clare manager last month.
Fitzgerald’s five-year spell in charge of the Banner came to an end before he was quickly snapped up by Wexford. The 45-year-old agreed on a three-year term in charge of Wexford, with a review to come after two years.
In a revealing interview with RTÉ Sport, Fitzgerald spoke about the series of events which led to his Clare departure. He was adament the majority of the squad wanted him to remain in charge of his home county.
“The players are getting a lot of stick in Clare that they don’t deserve. 95, to 96 or 97% of them players I would die for. Maybe one or two of them have lost their ways a small bit. Or maybe their dads have, but apart from that, them Clare players are great lads.
They didn’t organise anything against me. I more or less told them after the Galway game…like if you were in the dressing room you would know that I knew I nearly had enough.
“I asked them to see would they like a change of voice, that’s exactly the words I put to in their mouths.”
He voiced his disbelief at the criticism he received, especially when it came from within the county.
“I was more relieved to get out of Clare,” the three-time All-Star said. “I had fellas I played with cutting the back off me for three years. I haven’t seen too many of them coaching anyone to win anything.
“There’s no real logic behind any of it because they can’t stand up and say they have done anything themselves.
I remember going home [after leaving Clare] and saying, ‘I don’t have to listen to that anymore’. The way I felt treated, and probably betrayed by some of them, was unreal, but that’s the way it is and it is over.”
“The [playing] style is based on the players you have. What I was dealt with was mainly a bunch of 20, 21 year-olds and you had to make sure you were covered in all angles.
“You had to make sure the systems you were playing suited them.
“I look back on it with no regrets and I’m happy.”
Having stepped aside, his initial plan was to take a year off but Wexford chairman Diarmuid Devereux had other ideas. Next year will be his tenth straight season as an inter-county manager.
He says he met Devereux ”out of courtesy” but was impressed with his passion and refusal to accept no for an answer.
“I don’t need to do this. I don’t need to do this from a hurling point of view, or to prove anything. I don’t need to do it for a money point of view, I’m okay myself expenses-wise.
“It’s just their desire. I said, ‘Okay, we’ll give it two years.’”
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