Banner County boss Davy goes from manager to matchmaker
CLARE manager Davy Fitzgerald is not only a sporting hero in the Banner County but also a bit of a matchmaker.
He found love for his midfielder Nicky O'Connell with former Miss Clare Esther Woods.
Esther (23) and Nicky began going out last October after they started working together at Davy's The Dugout bar in Ennis.
"We met in Davy's pub, The Dugout and Davy was at him to text me, so I suppose it's down to Davy," she laughed.
And one of the perks of dating a player is a guaranteed ticket to tomorrow's All-Ireland final.
"They are like gold dust at the minute but that's one of the great things about going out with a player. Nicky's very excited and he's nervous.
"He's just been taking it day by day. He's been doing extra training outside of the training he's doing with the team just to keep his fitness up and to keep the nerves at bay.
"But it's all very exciting and we're looking forward to it," she said.
To celebrate what they hope will be a resounding win tomorrow, Esther has bought a new addition to the family, 10-week-old pup Bear.
"We got Bear today, so he's supporting Clare as well. So hopefully we can do it now. I'll look after him until Sunday and then Nicky will take over," she added.
Another Clare girl who got her hands on a coveted ticket was 6-year-old Ciara Galvin.
Ciara, from Cloonlara, will be cheering on her big brother Clare midfielder, Colm Galvin, at tomorrow's match. Ciara made a special poster for the team with her Senior Infants class at Cloonlara National School.
"I'm supporting my brother Colm with Mam and Dad and Ian. I made a poster in school saying 'C'mon Clare'. I love saying that," she said.
Students Eanna Mulvihill and Oisin Hickey decided to pen a song to show their support for the team and became internet sensations in the mix. After being viewed over 12,000 times online, they have now been invited to play at the Clare gala dinner in Dublin tomorrow night by Davy himself, who saw the song on Facebook.
"With the whole hype of the All-Ireland and the fact that we hadn't been in a final for 16 years, we just wanted to . . . give people something to sing along to and get them involved in the All-Ireland final," said Eanna, who has just completed his degree in UL.
Queues remained in Elverys in Ennis throughout the day yesterday as eager Clare fans bought up everything in the county colours of blue and saffron, from jerseys to banners and flags. Up to six jerseys a minute were being sold in the Ennis store, which opened at 7am yesterday morning with a special order that was snapped up immediately by waiting fans.