Davy Fitzgerald has officially stepped down from his role as manager to the Clare senior hurlers tonight, writes Peter McNamara.
Speculation was mounting in the last number of days that Fitzgerald’s time at the helm would be coming to an end.
Fitzgerald has informed the County Board that he will not be seeking reappointment to the position of manager in 2017.
The Irish Examiner’s John Fogarty highlighted yesterday that Fitzgerald was due to relinquish the reins in the Banner County.
It was heavily rumoured that a section of the panel he presided over were displeased with the fact coach Paul Kinnerk would be working with Limerick in 2017.
Fitzgerald guided Clare to All-Ireland success in 2013 however, questions were raised in the county as to why the Banner men failed to truly compete for that title since.
Clare did, of course, win the Allianz NHL Division 1 title this year.
However, they crashed out of the All-Ireland series at the quarter-final stage losing to Galway.
In the days leading up to that clash Fitzgerald had taken ill and required minor heart surgery at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. Still, he was there on the day in Thurles to steer the ship.
Fitzgerald previously hinted at stepping down following that encounter, though, a point he alludes to in this particular statement.
Nevertheless, the loss of Kinnerk in advance of next season was said to have divided the panel.
Fitzgerald “asked the joint-captains to ascertain the opinions of the wider panel” and since decided not to seek reappointment.
Fitzgerald said in a statement released tonight: "One of the greatest privileges of my life has been to manage the Clare senior hurling team and I am immensely proud of the success achieved during my time at the helm.
“After this year's All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Galway, I was undecided about my future and I indicated as much to the players in the dressing room post-match.
“In the weeks that followed, I asked the joint-captains to ascertain the opinions of the wider panel on whether they would like a change of voice.
“In light of the ensuing meeting and the divided opinions expressed by players, I have decided that it would be in the best interests of Clare hurling that I step down from the role of manager.
“I will cherish the memory of seeing so many happy Clare faces when in 2013 we won what was only the county’s fourth All-Ireland title and again in Thurles last May when we were crowned National League champions for the first time in 38 years.
“The Clare players were heroes on both days and it is my belief they will lift Liam McCarthy again in the near future.
“I was not asked to step down. The decision is entirely my own. In taking this decision however, I wish to reaffirm my absolute love and passion for Clare hurling.
“I want to express my sincere thanks to the respective backroom teams which have served alongside me for the past five seasons. It was a real pleasure to work with people of the highest calibre. I want to thank the Clare County Board for their tremendous support, Pat O'Donnell for his constant and generous sponsorship and support, and the players for being a key part of my life over the past five years.
“I want to thank the supporters and acknowledge the many people who travelled great distances to support their county.
“I leave the Clare job with a heavy heart but full of confidence that there will be further great hurling days for The Banner County," Fitzgerald concluded.