Tell me if you’re going out, Davy Fitzgerald tells Clare hurlers

Members of the Clare hurling panel are asked to inform Davy Fitzgerald when they are going on a night out, the 2013 All-Ireland winning-manager has revealed.

Tell me if you’re going out, Davy Fitzgerald tells Clare hurlers

Fitzgerald is adamant he doesn’t micro-manage his squad, but admits to asking his players to ring him if they are heading out.

Davy O’Halloran quit the panel back in March, claiming he had been subjected to “humiliating” punishment after being spotted on a night out two days before a league game. Nicky O’Connell also departed the Banner set-up, but has since returned to the fold. Both players were injured at the time.

“There is a bit of slack. The only thing is when they are off the drink at a certain spell, I ask them to ring me when they are going out so that someone won’t ring me and say ‘I heard x or y was out’,” Fitzgerald has told the Clare Champion.

“Every now and again, a guy will make a mistake. I’m not going to kill him over that. It’s just about keeping a happy medium so that we don’t go absolutely ballistic. I trust them.” Clare’s Munster quarter-final defeat was their third consecutive championship loss, the Banner managing but one win in their last 11 competitive outings.

Fitzgerald’s team return on July 4 for the first round of qualifiers and the manager does not believe his job will be under threat if a second successive summer passes without a single championship victory.

“I am fairly happy with what we’ve done. I believe it will come right. If I ever feel there comes a stage where I’ve nothing to offer the team... I won’t be in this for the next 10 years. I know that and I won’t try to be, but while I still have something to offer, I’ll be there.

“If it comes right for us on July 4, great. If it doesn’t, then you’ll have to go back and look at different things and make tweaks where we lost games by a point. If we were getting hammered in every game, I’d have to seriously have a look and ask had the lads stopped listening to me? There is no manager that can stay for years and I don’t expect to. What will be will be, but I know, at the moment, that we’re pretty close.

“The less pressure that is put on the lads, the better chance they have of performing. For all of us in Clare, the sooner we realise that and stop putting pressure on the lads, then maybe it will be easier for us all to thrive. If we all work together, we have a chance.” Fitzgerald, a most animated figure on the sideline, reveals he would rather be situated in the stand on matchday but his players want him close to the action.

“I love being able to watch the game from a height. I think I’m pretty okay at reading a game when I’m back further. It is very hard to see it when you’re on the sideline. I went through a good lot of the lads and asked them what they felt and they want me on the sideline. They are my No.1 priority. I trust them.” Meanwhile Limerick’s Seanie Tobin will miss the Treaty’s Munster SHC semi-final with Tipperary on Sunday week after failing to have a red card overturned by the GAA’s Central Appeals Committee.

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