Wednesday 28 September 2016

Treaty's O'Brien happy to risk touchline wrath of old mentor Fitzgerald

Declan Rooney

Published 23/05/2015 | 02:30

Limerick's Paudie O'Brien
Limerick's Paudie O'Brien

There is a famous online clip of Davy Fitzgerald in the LIT dressing-room delivering a half-time speech to his side during a Fitzgibbon Cup game.

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During his passionate oration, he continually urges a player called Paudie to run at his opponent in an effort to draw higher levels of performance from the youngster.

That Paudie is set to face Fitzgerald's Clare tomorrow - and Kilmallock's Paudie O'Brien (25) credits much of his development to the Banner manager's door.

As a fresher in LIT, O'Brien was immediately thrown into the Fitzgibbon Cup team by Fitzgerald. He went on to play in six Fitzgibbon Cups with the college, losing the 2008 and 2011 deciders, soldiering long and hard for Fitzgerald. It's fair to say they know each other inside out.

"I know Fitzy pretty well from my college days and I always had a great relationship with him.

"Regardless of what's going on inside there, I can guarantee you that Clare team, they're ready to go. They've been there and they've done it, so whether you love them or hate them, you can't argue their ability.

Break

"I couldn't have a bad word to say about him (Fitzgerald). I went in there as a fresher and I started the Fitzgibbon Cup final. I was only 17 or 18 and it was a time where I struggling to break on with Limerick.

"He always gave me a lot of confidence and I enjoyed every game I played with Fitzy.

"I rate him very highly as a manager and as a coach. I've no doubt he could be roaring at me (tomorrow) or doing whatever, but I like that about him. I respect him that about him. You need characters like that in the game."

O'Brien will be a key man for Limerick. Handed the No 9 shirt, the Kilmallock star will hope to dominate the weakened Clare zone which lines out without All Star Colm Galvin, while there are also doubts about the fitness of Conor Ryan.

Sixteen Munster championships have been completed since Clare last lifted the trophy, but after helping Limerick to the 2013 title O'Brien was dismayed to be ousted at the All-Ireland semi-final stage by a rampant Clare side on their way to the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

The Treaty men were out muscled that day - the last championship meeting between the teams - and O'Brien says it can't happen again.

"Our aggression levels just weren't at where they needed to be for the Clare match and they are too good a team," he concedes.

"But we feel if we come and bring our 'A' game we'll have a great chance."

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