DAVY FITZGERALD has admitted that both he and Anthony Daly sensed they would be facing each other prior to yesterday's draw for the All-Ireland Qualifiers.
"We said that no matter what happened, there'd be no hard feelings," revealed Fitzgerald (inset), whose Clare team host Daly's Dublin on July 7 in Cusack Park, Ennis at 7.0 -- a match which will be screened live by TV3.
"I was texting Dalo on Sunday before the draw was made. I think we both had a feeling we'd be playing each other.
"It's a very hard draw for us," the former Waterford boss insisted. "We all know Dublin aren't as bad as they showed and they will want to prove that ... they didn't become a bad team overnight and it's unfortunate for Clare that we're the next team they play."
Daly must now pick up the pieces of a disastrous weekend when his team were humbled by Kilkenny in Portlaoise, a defeat which left their Leinster ambitions in ruins and asked major questions about their ability to mount a credible qualifier run.
"There was never going to be an easy draw," reflected Ryan O'Dwyer, "and with Daly being from Clare and Davy Fitz back in charge of them, it adds a lot of spice to it. We have to go out and restore pride in Dublin hurling. Believing is one thing -- but doing it is another. We believed 100 per cent we could beat Kilkenny but we just didn't do it and we are all devastated at how badly we played.
"We still feel we are not that bad. We need to back it up."