Friday 23 February 2018

Daly backs Fitzgerald's credentials for Banner task

Former Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald is poised to make a return to inter-county management with his native Clare
Former Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald is poised to make a return to inter-county management with his native Clare

Daragh O Conchuir

ANTHONY DALY has backed Davy Fitzgerald to use his experience as Waterford manager to help make Clare Munster champions.

Fitzgerald will be ratified as the Banner's new senior hurling manager at the next county board meeting on October 11, having been the only nominee to fill the vacancy left by Ger O'Loughlin.

Daly was Clare manager himself before taking over the reins so successfully with Dublin. Fitzgerald was a team-mate -- as was O'Loughlin -- when Daly captained Clare to two All-Ireland successes in 1995 and 1997.

He believes that a better candidate could not have been chosen to carry on O'Loughlin's good work in freshening up an ageing Clare panel.

"He was the obvious candidate once he said he was interested," said Daly. "He has worked with Waterford for four years, won a Munster championship, been in four All-Ireland semi-finals, an All-Ireland final; he has two Fitzgibbons won. He can't win much more to be fair to him.

"He would be well organised, has savage passion and he'd know the players well having worked at colleges level the last few years.


"The experience he brings from Waterford is a huge thing, because it's a different level of management. You have to have a bit of know-how about what makes fellas tick. Dealing with fellas for a few years at that level, he'll have picked up a bit.

"All I know is that, at the end of my three years at Clare, I'd like to think I was a lot better than I was at the start of it. You learn about man-management and I'd say Davy has learned loads in Waterford."

Many of the victorious All-Ireland U-21 team of 2009 have been blooded at senior level by O'Loughlin, while Fitzgerald may well look to this year's minor squad for some talent as well. Expectation is growing among Clare supporters that a first Munster senior title since 1998 is on the horizon.

"That would be the belief, talking to people, with two good minor teams -- we could've won this year's All-Ireland minor -- and the U-21s are moving on.

"But the first thing he'll have to do is get his back-room team sorted and get the best possible people. There's a lot of talk about Louis Mulqueen, Brian Lohan and Mike Deegan, the Cratloe manager. That would sound like a good combination, but I don't know if these people have even been approached."

Daly was keen to praise O'Loughlin for his efforts as Clare boss in the past two seasons, and cautioned that success at U-21 level was no guarantee of glory at the highest grade. "The results didn't go his way and they didn't come out of Division 2, but I think 'Sparrow' has done a great service to Clare," said Daly.

Irish Independent

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