Wednesday 28 September 2016

Comment: Davy Fitzgerald must avoid a case of history repeating itself this summer

James Donoghue

Published 26/05/2015 | 14:57

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald reacts to a decision by linesman Diarmuid Kirwan during their Munster championship defeat on Sunday
Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald reacts to a decision by linesman Diarmuid Kirwan during their Munster championship defeat on Sunday

Davy Fitzgerald must pay heed to omens before ghosts of summers past return to haunt another All Ireland winning Clare manager.

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Clare fans won’t remember the summer of 1998 with any affection as former general Ger Loughnane’s and his charges eventually relinquished their All Ireland crown to Offaly after a summer clouded with controversy.

This summer is already showing similarities for Clare under Davy’s tutelage, as the current Clare manager is developing a similar siege mentality “us against the world” attitude stance that his former master took in 1998.

Davy was between the sticks for Clare that summer and nine days following a Munster final victory over Waterford which was marred by on-field violence the Munster Council penalised Clare midfielder Colin Lynch for striking with the hurl.

Lynch was not carded during the game and Loughnane felt extremely aggrieved that action was taken afterwards,  feeling that the Munster Council were doing their utmost to put Clare down.

Following the Munster final which involved a number of melees and incidents Loughnane in his post match interview stated “there was nobody injured, bit of wild pulling, and then the game settled down”, sound familiar??

When asked about the Pat Donnellan sending off on the weekend current manager Davy remarked “it’s a tough one to take” “I’m sure Donal O’Grady is fine inside there not a bother on him”.

Whether or not somebody gets injured, striking is a serious offence and warrants a red card and a suspension no matter how little intent is in it. Something Fitzgerald must rectify as he has seen a member of his charges red-carded in the last four championship games. 

In the case of Colin Lynch there was conclusive video evidence, however Loughnane was not to be deterred as he described the Munster Council's actions as a “witch hunt” against Clare.

Despite clear evidence of Lynch’s wrong doing Loughnane was staunch in the support of his midfielder stating before his hearing that Lynch would get off “if the basic rule of justice prevails, a basic human right for everybody”.

It was widely known that Loughnane was a massive admirer of the Meath football team in the 1980s that 10 years previously were criticised for their tactics. 

Despite negative media coverage, the Meath footballers flourished and refused to be overcome by whatever criticism was thrown their way.

Ultimately for Clare the summer ended badly as Lynch’s suspension was upheld and the defiance Loughnane was expecting was replaced by fatigue from the constant media attention as they succumbed to Offaly in an All Ireland semi-final replay.

Fast forward to 2015 and history seems to be repeating itself, the class of 2015 have already had their share of bad press and Davy Fitzgerald seems to think the world and it's mother is against them.

“There was a lot of stuff questioned about us today. We were told, there was a lot of people wrote us off, even in our own county”

This Clare side is much younger than Loughnane's but still has massive miles on the clock through minor, under-21 and Fitzgibbon commitments.

Their commander can't keep stacking the odds against them.

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