Fitzgerald steps down as Waterford manager

Davy Fitzgerald has decided not to seek another term as Waterford senior hurling manager.

Davy Fitzgerald has decided not to seek another term as Waterford senior hurling manager.

The move will increase the speculation linking him with the vacant job in his native Clare.

Fitzgerald assumed the Waterford role in the summer of 2008, taking the reins from the long-serving Justin McCarthy.

In his first season, the former Clare goalkeeper guided the Déise through to the All-Ireland SHC final which they lost heavily to Kilkenny.

Fitzgerald's charges regrouped and reached the Munster final and All-Ireland semi-final in 2009, before securing the provincial title last year with an extra-time win over Cork in the final.

However, this season contained many ups and downs for Waterford. Their lowest ebb came in the Munster decider when they were demolished by seven-goal Tipperary.

The players dug deep and got themselves back on track to beat Galway and qualify for their fourth successive All-Ireland semi-final under Fitzgerald, who was victim of some mysterious late night phone calls and intense media scrutiny during the latter stages of his reign.

The stress of the job was obvious and his outpouring of emotion after the quarter-final victory over Galway showed how much it weighed on his shoulders. However, the subsequent semi-final loss to eventual champions Kilkenny must have convinced him that he had taken Waterford as far as he could.

In a statement released last night, Waterford GAA Committee chairman Tom Cunningham said that it was with "regret and great disappointment" that he learned of Fitzgerald's decision to stand down as manager.

He praised the former All-Star for guiding Waterford to their first All-Ireland final in 45 years and playing a vital role in their 2010 Munster Championship success.

"On behalf of the County GAA Committee, I wish to express my sincere thanks to Davy for all his work for over three years," he said.

"At this point, I would also like to express my gratitude to all those who worked as selectors or as part of the backroom team.

"We wish Davy the very best in any future roles he may take up, and I have no doubt that he will continue to be a fantastic ambassador for both hurling and the GAA for many years to come."

Cunningham added that plans to appoint a new manager will be discussed by the County Committee at a meeting next Monday night.

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