One of Clare GAA’s most well documented rivalries was put to bed in The Clare Champion today with the publication of an interview between county hurling manager David Fitzgerald and journalist Peter O’Connell.
Last summer, following Clare’s qualifier draw with Wexford, an altercation between the two received a lot of scrutiny within the national media.
Fitzgerald subsequently boycotted any further interviews with O’Connell and refused to talk to print media if the journalist was present.
The meeting, which took place in the Temple Gate Hotel, came off the back of a simple suggestion to Fitzgerald that he should meet O’Connell and settle their dispute.
“It was suggested that me and you talk. When it was put to me would I, I said fair enough. We might have had issues in the past. Things I wouldn’t have been happy about and you have things you wouldn’t have been happy about. But listen, this is moving forward”, Fitzgerald told O’Connell.
After setting aside their differences, the duo got down to more general topics involving the future of both Fitzgerald himself and the Clare team.
Throughout the course of the interview, they discuss the Sixmilebridge man’s relationship with referees, post-match interviews, Colm Galvin and much more.
The LIT Fitzgibbon Cup manager believes Clare will regain the form shown in 2013 and he points to the tackle-count and intensity of the side as a clear example of this.
“Our tackle count and our turnover count from 2013 to 2014 went down significantly. We were averaging about nineteen turnovers a game in 2013. Last year we were averaging 12 or 13. In the last league game against Kilkenny, we got back up to 15 or 16 turnovers and for the Limerick game we hit 20. So I know that the intensity and work rate is coming back” the Clare manager stated.
Fitzgerald was very open about his analysis of how the current campaign has gone so far and that he doesn’t expect his position to be in jeopardy should Clare lose on July 4th.
He told the Clare Champion, “I believe it will come right. If I ever feel there comes a stage where I have nothing to offer the team….I won’t be in this..”.
Fitzgerald also quashed rumours that he is managing his players off the field too. He referred to keeping a ‘happy medium’ and that sentiment was echoed by goalkeeper Patrick Kelly in a separate interview with O’Connell also published today.
The All Ireland winning goalkeeper also stated that both Colm Galvin and Paul Kinnerk would be welcomed back into the fold with open arms in their respective capacities.
Fitzgerald finished by saying that a break from the game is inevitable in the future but he could never walk away from hurling.