Davy's future in the balance without full backing from Deise fraternity
Davy Fitzgerald may be tempted to spend one more year with Waterford -- but approval from clubs and players won't be unanimous.
In the wake of the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kilkenny, Fitzgerald said he would take time out before deciding on his next move.
County board sources expect to hear from him sometime next week to gauge if he is interested in staying on for one more year but even if he wants to continue, they couldn't guarantee approval at executive or club level. Fitzgerald received a one-year extension last September with a review planned after that.
The heavy Munster final defeat to Tipp -- and the tactical straitjacket that the team were placed in that day -- is still weighing on people's minds in Waterford, even after a strong recovery against Galway and to a lesser extent Kilkenny.
The public reaction on local radio in Waterford yesterday was reasonably favourable towards Fitzgerald, however, and the manner of their recovery after Pairc Ui Chaoimh and the character they showed may convince him to seek one more year to see if they can challenge the Tipp/Kilkenny duopoly.
During his time, Waterford have solidified their position as the third best team in hurling -- which is no mean achievement in the company of Tipperary and Kilkenny.
He has also managed to overhaul the personnel within the squad without Waterford losing any altitude. But the opportunity to manage Clare has possibly presented itself in the wake of Ger O'Loughlin's departure last month and Fitzgerald would be the front-runner for that position.
Fitzgerald has admitted that he would love to manage his native county and he will want to take on that role while his father, Pat, is still full-time secretary -- he has four years left on his contract.
But Clare hurling looks like it's a long-term project and success would not be instant.
Meanwhile, John Mullane believes that the future of the game in Waterford is strong and that Tony Browne could continue to hurl for another two years, taking him to the age of 40. Browne has not committed to continuing on after a ninth All-Ireland semi-final appearance ended in an eighth failure.
Mullane feels Browne has every right to extend his career on the back of how he played against the Cats. "Tony's a freak of nature. At 38 years of age he held his own, he's a pure professional. It's sad that he hasn't got that All-Ireland medal. The way he performed he could go on for two or three years," he said.
And Mullane said he was "very optimistic" about the future despite the defeat. "The underage structures are flying. It all takes time -- it's not going to happen overnight. We might make that Holy Grail in a few years."