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Fitzgerald back in frame for Banner

CLARE manager Mike McNamara last night confirmed that former All Star goalkeeper Davy Fitzgerald will return to the county's senior hurling panel in the coming weeks.

Fitzgerald played no part in Clare's 2007 campaign following a disagreement with former manager Tony Considine but he is now poised for an imminent return, after speaking with McNamara in recent days.

Speaking on local radio, McNamara revealed: "David and myself have spoken and hopefully, in a week or two, the medical advice for David will be that he can attempt a return."

Fitzgerald suffered an horrific finger injury during a club game last October which required reconstructive surgery in Galway.

The 36-year-old double All-Ireland winner almost lost the top of his ring finger but he has made encouraging progress in recent weeks on the road to recovery.

Fitzgerald revealed last night that his doctors believe that he is "mad" to consider a return but the Sixmilebridge clubman feels that he has to attempt one.

Mad

He said: "I'm going back, hopefully at the end of this month, even though the doctors think that I am mad to do so.

"But I have to try and at least I will be happy myself that way. If it works, it works and if it doesn't, it doesn't."

McNamara stressed: "He will be afforded the same treatment as anybody else on the panel.

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"A fully-fit David Fitzgerald would make a massive contribution to the Clare hurling set-up.

"We must regain our status and our pride and blow away agendas and David will hopefully make a very welcome return to the panel towards the end of this month or in very early February."

McNamara expressed relief that Fitzgerald's immediate future has been resolved but he warned the three-time All Star that he faces a battle to dislodge Tulla's Philip Brennan from the goalkeeping position.

Fitzgerald agreed: "If my finger is right, I'm prepared to fight for my place but my county is the most important thing, whether I play or not.

"Being honest, the finger is not 100pc right at the moment but I had a great chat with Mike the other day and I was talking to my doctors who said that maybe, at the end of the month, I can see then.

"But I would like to give myself a chance. Since I was a young fella watching Seamus Durack and standing behind the goals, I wanted to dive around the place and pull on that blue jersey. That's all I've ever dreamed of.

"Philip did a great job last year under pressure and I know the way Mike Mac operates.

"He would make no promises. I just know that whoever is doing the best job or playing the best will get in -- that's the way it will be.

"The more competition for places the better, I don't know at this point but I wouldn't be happy with myself unless I tried.

"All I want to do is play. I could go and coach teams or stay writing but it will be interesting to see how the hand will react and at least I can say that I'm giving it a right chance.

"If I can't, I can't and I'll be one of the first lads supporting the team in Limerick next June. If it goes the other way, I'll be hopefully on the field driving them on.

"The most important thing is that we have a good Clare team going forward."


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