Wednesday 26 July 2017

'I have to change and be healthier than I am' - Davy Fitzgerald on medical issues

Fitzgerald is more conscious of his medical issues as he takes on latest managerial role with Wexford

Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald with the Allianz HL Division 1A trophy at yesterday’s launch in Croke Park. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald with the Allianz HL Division 1A trophy at yesterday’s launch in Croke Park. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

His doctor might not have been too happy when he heard that one of his well-known patients, with a propensity for palpable and visual passion and excitement on a hurling sideline, was throwing himself back into the maelstrom of inter-county management so soon.

But Davy Fitzgerald has acknowledged that he will have to become "healthier" if he wants to get the best out of himself in the future.

In a candid assessment of his own physical state at yesterday's Allianz Hurling League launch, Fitzgerald admitted he needs to be more conscious of his health.

Prior to last year's All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Galway when he was still in charge of Clare, Fitzgerald was hospitalised with a cardiac issue that required the insertion of two more stents.

"I've made a few changes and I've got to make more. I could be healthier than I am. I've identified a few things over the last month or two that I know I have to work on. I want to be around in a number of years. I have to listen to my body," he said.

"Probably my doctor wouldn't have been the happiest that I got involved with Wexford. He said a year or two out would do me no harm," added the 45-year-old.

Happy

"A lot of people say to me 'you've it done, you've won everything'. I still wouldn't be happy with that. I still want to win more and help this crowd (Wexford) go on. You still want to try to do that.

"It's the start of a new challenge, you've to go again, you've to fight like anything. I like that. But for the first time in a long time I have to think of myself as well. I have to make sure that I'm good. I have to be good for the lads to get the best out of me.

"I have to be healthy, I have to be buzzing. And I know that will rub off on the lads as well. That's something I'm probably a lot more conscious of and I have work to do myself on that to get myself right."

Last year's health scare has tweaked his perspective somewhat.

"You definitely value things way more. Your health is everything. I don't think you realise that until someone close to you or yourself gets a rattle. You have all of these ideas and plans, you want to do 'x, y, and z', but you've got to be healthy and right to do them.

"I still take things to heart. When you get beaten, when you put so much into it and there is abuse coming, you feel it and it's tough. I try not to let it get to me as much.

"Before it used to bother me an awful lot worse. People had a perception. My thing is always that you should sit down and spend a bit of time with someone (before judging them).

"I can remember an incident that happened two years ago that absolutely hurt me unreal. And I was accused of being an 'x, y and z'. I knew it was the furthest thing from the truth. I could do nothing only take it and it's hard, because I'd like to think that I would be a good person.

"Do I do everything right? No. I'll make mistakes the same as any other guy. I'll make them on the field, I'll probably make them off the field. But I'd like to think if someone wants you to do something, you'd do it for them."

He has expressed disappointment with his former Clare playing colleague and University of Limerick manager Brian Lohan over his take recently on Tony Kelly's injury in the build-up to last year's Fitzgibbon Cup.

Kelly picked up the injury while training with Clare just days out from UL's opening game. They still reached the final, but Kelly's loss eventually told and Fitzgerald has been in the firing line from Lohan.

"I was bitterly disappointed at that. It wasn't the first time Brian has had a go in the last year. I played with Brian for years and he's the best full-back I've ever come across, phenomenal.

"I'm pretty good friends with him, but for the last two or three years there must be some reason that he's had a go or two.

"Just to clarify that situation on the Fitzgibbon, Tony Kelly wasn't the only player picked to train that night. All the college players trained that night and they didn't train for an hour or an hour-and-a-half, they trained for half-an-hour.

"Every single player when I was Clare manager from any college would be treated the same," he claimed, responding to Lohan's suggestion that the players' schedule that week was too much to ask.

Fitzgerald is buzzing about the prospect of trying to unlock Wexford's potential and is looking forward to his central coaching role.

"It's great being back on the field. I love managing and thinking about this formation or that formation or 'how can I get into a lad?' or 'how can I get him going?'

"There's nothing to beat that buzz of being out the field and coming up with new drills - I love that."

Irish Independent

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