Sunday 19 November 2017

Fitzgerald to answer call for club and county

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
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Davy Fitzgerald is ready to answer his club's call and come out of retirement to assist Sixmilebridge in their Clare semi-final on Sunday week.

And by then he could be the new Clare manager, as all the indications last night suggested that he will be the only name before the Clare County Board tonight.

The make-up of an appointments committee is expected to be revealed and ratified at tonight's meeting and with no expressions of interest elsewhere locally, Fitzgerald -- who has kept his counsel on the position since quitting the Waterford post -- looks like he will be the only name in the race.

It's not clear what would happen if that is the situation. The committee would still have to speak to Fitzgerald, but they may still have the authority to approach other potential candidates whose names have not surfaced.

Fitzgerald's return to the Sixmilebridge colours is also imminent. He has not hurled in the three years that he was involved with Waterford as their senior manager.

But a serious injury to the 'Bridge's current goalkeeper, Derek Fahy, in last weekend's quarter-final win over Inagh-Kilnamona, has prompted a move for Fitzgerald.


Fahy, the replacement U-21 goalkeeper this year, sustained a broken jaw in the match and was replaced, and with neighbours Cratloe on the horizon in the semi-final, the Sixmilebridge management are pitching for experience in the 39-year-old double All-Ireland winner.

Fitzgerald quit inter-county hurling in early 2008 when it became apparent that he was no longer the No 1 choice in the county.

He had sustained a nasty facial injury the previous year and had left the squad after a dispute with the manager at the time, Tony Considine.

By June he had taken the reins in Waterford where he remained until recently and in that time his playing days were put on hold.

Fitzgerald was present at the match last weekend, perhaps with one eye on all the participants as the Clare County Board prepare to establish a committee to find a successor to Ger O'Loughlin at tonight's County Board meeting.

Sixmilebridge will be among the favourites for the Clare title as they can call on a mixture of youth and experience in players like Niall Gilligan and Tony Carmody, who transferred to them this year.

In the other semi-final, reigning champions Crusheen meet Kilmayley.

In Waterford, contact has been made with Wexford football manager Jason Ryan about allowing his name to enter the race for the Waterford hurling manager's post with James McGarry as coach.

Ryan has not been nominated for the position, but there is understood to be interest among the six-man committee in pairing him together with the former Kilkenny goalkeeper, who has fulfilled a coaching role with Ballyhale Shamrocks in recent years.

Ryan has limited hurling experience but his motivational and logistical experience, built up in four years with Wexford, has obviously proved attractive.

The manager/coach model, favoured by Tipperary hurlers and Dublin footballers in recent years, is proving more and more popular among inter-county teams.

However, the lure of trying to complete unfinished business with Wexford must be a strong temptation for Ryan to continue with the Leinster county. They came close to beating Dublin in the last two years in the Leinster championship and have twice been to a Leinster final, losing on both occasions to the Dubs.

Carlow manager Kevin Ryan and De La Salle club manager Michael Ryan are other declared interested candidates in Waterford.

Meanwhile, Laois are expected to confirm Teddy McCarthy as their new hurling manager. McCarthy was present at last weekend's county semi-finals and his name is to go before the Laois executive in the coming weeks.

He has been a Cork U-21 selector for the past two years and was briefly a selector under Gerald McCarthy at the height of the third Cork players strike in 2009.

County Board chairman Brian Allen, Hurling Board chairman Kieran Delaney and former players Pat Critchley and Andy Dunne were part of the committee tasked with finding a successor to Brendan Fennelly.

A meeting of Laois hurling clubs to discuss the new blueprint for hurling in the county -- a blueprint that includes the appointment of former national director of hurling Paudie Butler as a master coach -- took place last night.

Irish Independent

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