Wednesday 17 January 2018

Deise boss Fitzgerald stands by decision to haul off Kelly

Jackie Cahill

Waterford hurling boss Davy Fitzgerald has defended his controversial decision to substitute Eoin Kelly in the All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary -- and has backed the Mount Sion star to bounce back strongly next season.

Kelly was captured on TV appearing to mouth his displeasure at the management team as he trudged towards the sideline during the second half.

Fitzgerald told a local radio station yesterday: "I was looking at the game and didn't see anything. People said that was his reaction, but I was talking to him coming down on the train and Eoin knew that it wasn't one of his better games -- he said it to me.

"I've seen very few players having a good game taken off. But don't anyone doubt Eoin Kelly's ability. The amount of work he did outside of what we did was unreal."

In 2008, former Waterford player Paul Flynn questioned Fitzgerald's management, having struggled to nail down a starting place.

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Fitzgerald said: "Would I be happy with certain things he came out with? No, because certain things happen within a panel that are meant to stay that way. Paul Flynn was a great player in his day, he's entitled to his opinion, he probably isn't happy that he wasn't playing, but I felt he wasn't up to it at the time."

Fitzgerald also rejected "crazy" suggestions that he is being paid huge money to manage Waterford.

He laughed: "I've heard figures of 55, 65, 75, and €80,000. I'm not going into what expenses I get, but those figures are crazy.

"I work very hard for Waterford, I was down 122 times last year. I'm lucky that my dad is secretary of the Clare County Board. I've figures from Kilkenny, Clare, Tipperary and Waterford -- Waterford's team is easily below any of the rest of them on spending."

Irish Independent

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