Henry Shefflin: Davy Fitzgerald set bad example with ‘silly act’

Kilkenny hurling legend Henry Shefflin believes Davy Fitzgerald set a “bad example” with his “silly act” last weekend.

Wexford boss Fitzgerald encroached onto the field of play to remonstrate with referee Diarmuid Kirwan during their Allianz League semi-final defeat to Tipperary.

He ended up jostling with Tipp players Niall O’Meara and Jason Forde before returning to the sideline.

Disciplinary chiefs have yet to act though the 2013 All-Ireland winning Clare manager is expected to be hit with some form of suspension.

“I think it does set a bad example because there’s so much good he does for the promotion of hurling but I think that’s just not good, what he did,” said Shefflin.

“It takes away from all the good work that he and the team, the management team, have done by doing that. And it was a silly act. I’m imagine he will reflect on it that way.”

The 10-time All-Ireland medallist said his former Kilkenny boss Brian Cody could become emotional on the sideline but never crossed the line like Fitzgerald did.

“Brian was often animated on the line but he never crossed that line,” said Shefflin. “Maybe he (Cody) encroached a little bit to get out to the referee but that was it. I think this was too far.

“And like, the players are out in a kind of combat area. I’d imagine Jason Forde is a quiet player, and Niall O’Meara the same, but it was something so new, something so new to react to. They have enough to deal with without a manager encroaching on the pitch and them wondering what’s going on. For me, it crossed the line.”

Shefflin faced up to Fitzgerald plenty of times over the years as a Kilkenny attacker taking on the ex-Clare goalkeeper.

He heaped praised on the Banner County legend for a generally excellent start to life with Wexford who were promoted to Division 1A.

“I think what he has done, what he has achieved, I don’t think any other manager could probably get that bounce so quickly,” claimed pundit Shefflin.

“So I have no doubt he’s a great manager. For any team, whether it be my own club team or Wexford or whoever, he will get that bounce and he’s gotten that in Wexford.

“But you look at it first (the incident) and you go, ‘maybe (it’s wrong)’ but then I reflected on it, and this is an issue for the GAA as a whole, across the organisation, we hear it so much that in other sports how much respect there is for referees and how much respect there is for the players.”

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