By reaching the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, Davy Fitzgerald is fulfilling the ambitions he had when he became Clare manager.
The Sixmilebridge man succeeded Ger O’Loughlin in the position on the back of a 4-25 to 0-20 hammering at the hands of Galway in the second round of the qualifiers in 2011. When he took the reins Fitzgerald wanted to see his County reaching the business end of the championship instead of having their season conclude in the qualifiers.
“We’re playing hurling the end of July, we’re national league champions, I think we’ve done pretty well so far this year. Are we back to our very best? No, but we’re showing glimpses of it. I’m confident we’ll up it another gear and it’s going to be a tremendous quarter-final but do you know what it’s great, I’ve spent the last two years sitting at home looking at it and I want to be there. My ambition when I came back in 2012 was to be there and to be hurling” Fitzgerald said after Saturday’s win over Limerick.
Davy admits that he was surprised with how much Limerick were written off going into the tie. “What people don’t realise is you’re playing Limerick in a local derby and I don’t understand how people keep writing off them players, they ran Tipperary to two points granted Tipperary had fourteen players but they showed a lot of heart, they showed the same thing today. We were in control for most of the game, once the first ten minute spell was over I thought we controlled the game and then with that strong wind which picked up in the second half they got some unbelievable scores so they did”.
“Hat’s off to Limerick today and in fairness TJ Ryan was getting a lot of stick and they gave a battling performance and fair play to them” he told Sky Sports.
Reflecting on the defeat to Waterford in the Munster championship, the two-time All-Ireland medallist feels that everyone involved in the current Clare setup has to take the flak for the only defeat of 2016 to date.
“The Waterford game was down to ourselves one hundred percent, we did not fight that one out and we had to have a long hard look at ourselves about that, we played two tremendous games before that granted we gave up sloppy scores in the league finals but we still played a lot better, the last day we didn’t compete, Waterford were totally justified but I felt the fight that we normally have in Clare that total drive wasn’t there and we had to rectify that we spent a hard month having at look at ourselves but in saying that I think we’ve only one game lost all year and I think today was our sixteenth in all competitions so that’s not too bad”.
In their four point victory over Limerick, the Banner men hit fourteen wides and this is something that they will be working for their quarter-final meeting with Galway according to Fitzgerald.
“I think we were the better team on the day there’s no doubt about it, I think we deserved our win by four or five points, our wides we won’t be happy and we probably were a small bit patchy today so we were”.