Davy Fitzgerald has labelled posters on a Clare GAA fans web page as “cowards” for calling him a traitor in recent days.
The Banner’s 2013 All-Ireland winning manager referred to comments posted on the “Clare Clare Clare” Facebook page in relation to claims he and his Wexford selector Brendan Bugler are trying to persuade football clubs in the county to influence the structure of the senior hurling championship as a means of “destabilising” Brian Lohan’s Championship preparations.
One of the posts accompanied with a photograph of Lohan and emojis of rats reads: “We love this man ... his plans will be supported! Wexford and your treasonous Backroom stay the feck out of Clare Hurling. rats.”
Another post refers to Fitzgerald and Bugler’s clubs of Sixmilebridge, who the former is coaching, and Whitegate: “SMB and Whitegate trying to get football clubs to help them influence the hurling club championship plans in Clare ! This is a disgusting abuse of power by individuals intent on destabilising Brian Lohan ... Traitors and Rats”.
Clare face Limerick in a Munster SHC first round game on October 24 or 25 and ahead of the county championship fixture plan being finalised on Monday Lohan has asked that the senior hurling final be played no later than September 20, which is also the date Limerick have earmarked for their decider.
Fitzgerald took aim at the webpage on Today FM’s Pumped Up Kicks: “I got absolutely lambasted last (Friday) night in Clare for no reason whatsoever. What actually gets me is faceless cowards that can say stuff and they don’t have their name to back it up. And then that goes all around the place and people might think that is actually true.
“It actually disgusts me some of the stuff that goes on, to tell you the truth. I was told today that something was said and I said ‘just leave it, it’s not the truth, I’ve no interest in looking at it’.”
In November, Gardai were requested by county board chairman Joe Cooney to investigate online abuse aimed at Fitzgerald’s father and Clare GAA secretary Pat. His son Fitzgerald referred to it on Saturday: “Probably my dad has got a lot of stick being involved in the county board for years. It’s easy for anyone to say ‘don’t take any notice’ but after a length of time if people keep persisting, it’s very hard.
“Something could happen very soon that legislation might come in or someone will stand up to this. As far as I know, that is happening and it would be great to bring a few of these cowards out.
“It could get into your head and I am urging the Government to take serious action on this because it’s not good for the mental well-being of people that people can just go on(line) and attack and not even have the credibility to put their name to it and stuff like that. That’s not what we’re about.” While insisting he had no involvement in how Wexford have formatted their championship schedule, Fitzgerald supported the board executive’s rationale behind the decision to stage the hurling competition first followed by football.
“We (Sixmilebridge) played Cratloe in the county final last year. They had to play a football semi-final the week before the final and we had two weeks of a break. Whereas it’s a level playing field. There are five weekends in a row, which is great. The senior county hurling, if you’re lucky you’ll have six to seven weeks to get to an All-Ireland (final) so there is very little difference.
“People said, ‘Ah, Davy pulled a stroke, he’s going to get his players back at the end of August.’ If my players want to play football until the end of September, first week of October 100% they play football.”