RTÉ Radio Documentary on One had unique access to follow Clare’s 2016 hurling year and experience it through the eyes of Davy Fitzgerald, it airs Saturday at 1pm.
So much has been said and written about the All-Ireland winning player and manager but is the public perception of the man different to who he really is?
Fitzgerald, who guided Waterford to their first All-Ireland final in 45 years in 2008, took over the reins in his native county in the winter of 2011. Within two years, he brought the Liam MacCarthy Cup back to the Banner for the fourth time in their history.
The previous two times the trophy made its way to Clare were in the 1990s. He was involved then too, as the goalkeeper who captured the imagination of the country. This documentary is a project that began as the summer of 2015 drew to a close. Clare were knocked out of the championship by Cork, Galway lost the All-Ireland final, with Kilkenny champions yet again.
Two days after that game, Máire Treasa Ní Cheallaigh approached Davy Fitzgerald to become involved in the project. He didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardise their game, or that would be to the detriment of his players.
Ní Cheallaigh spent the next few months trying to get Davy to agree. He relented, eventually, so long as it was kept under wraps, as he wanted no distractions.
Documentary on One: Davy records the Clare hurling year, beginning with the appointment of Dónal Óg Cusack to the coaching set-up, to their first game in January against Cork, all to way to the high of winning the National League, to being knocked out of the championship in July by Galway, days after Fitzgerald is admitted to hospital with heart trouble.
Sixmilebridge native Davy is honest and open in this documentary. It’s clear he loves hurling, he loves Clare, and he loves his players and backroom team. He speaks of his motivations, what gets under his skin and what drives him on. He tells of the hours he has dedicated to Clare hurling. The documentary serves as a window into the challenges he faces and into the highs and the lows of inter-county management.
People think they know Fitzgerald because of what they see during the game, but what about before and after? Documentary on One: Davy, Saturday 27 August, 1pm on RTÉ Radio 1.