The former All Star goalkeeper added his belief that inter-county referees at national level have something in for him and his team.
Fitzgerald’s charges were defeated 1-20 to 0-14 by Kilkenny yesterday and while the Banner boss insisted Kilkenny were the better team, he believed the game turned on a series of contentious decisions made in the build-up to Matthew Ruth’s 41st minute goal.
Fitzgerald claimed a sideline ball was incorrectly awarded against Clare, Eoin Larkin over-carried the ball in possession and Ruth was in the square before finishing to the net.
“I honestly believe the referees have something in for myself,” he said. “I just think it’s ‘I’ll sort Davy out’ and that’s the story. I think a number of referees have that so I’ll be asking everyone to keep a close eye on the championship and see do they take it out on me and my team. It’s happened now on more than one occasion.
“Can I take my beating? 100%. Kilkenny were the better team than Clare, no qualms. We would not have won the game but the decisions annoy me. We got onto Alan Kelly a few times and you might as well be talking to the wall. I went to him at half-time because I wanted to ask him a question and I said ‘Alan can I have a minute?’ and he ignored me altogether, as if I was dirt.
“I was as calm as I am now because I just wanted to question one thing. I wasn’t allowed. So I couldn’t be bothered going to him after the game, just disappointed. That’s annoying but certainly I’ll make a call about it tomorrow.
“They ignore me completely, maybe they mightn’t do it to Brian [Cody] or the Declan Ryans of this world but when it comes to me you are not allowed say anything or have any animation or question anything. That’s disappointing.
“I’m not happy about them decisions. They have to be honest and fair. I think it was plain for everyone to see that. That sideline ball cost us a score. Then I’m fairly certain he [Eoin Larkin] turned two or three times. If he has to turn he has to have the ball in his hand.
“Then when Pat Kelly made the save, he was right there to stick it in. So he must have been fairly close to being in the square. You can’t be getting those decisions wrong. He [Alan Kelly] had three chances. How come it’s always Clare that get them against us?”
Fitzgerald wondered are referees worried that if they make calls against big teams, it will influence their chances of being selected to officiate big championship matches. “Are the referees afraid to make a mistake when it’s the big teams? Are they afraid they won’t get a bigger match? We have to start standing up now. I think they will give them to the bigger sides. That’s my feeling. They’re afraid. I could see it. He was wondering whether to blow or not.
“I’ll probably get reported for going 20 yards onto the field to ask about it. What way would you be if you are on the sideline and you see that happening your team and it’s ignored. That will be interesting.
“It’s just frustrating, we train hard, and three of the players came to me afterwards and said ‘is this right, we are bursting our arse and it feels like outside there we are never going to get the rub of the green ourselves playing the likes of them’. They are frustrated and I’m frustrated.”
But he added: “Kilkenny were the better team. We have no qualms about that. But that killed the game as a contest when they got that goal. ”