Davy Fitzgerald has confirmed he is stepping down as coach of the Cork senior camogie team.
The 2013 All-Ireland SHC winning manager had an agreement in place with Matthew Twomey to work with the team for the 2022 season.
It came to a disappointing conclusion with the one-point defeat to Kilkenny in this All-Ireland final but Fitzgerald, who has been linked with inter-county hurling management vacancies, won’t be continuing in the Cork role.
“A hard one to take today,” he told the Irish Examiner. “I couldn’t say enough about the girls, they were unreal. I enjoyed my time in Cork, it was deadly. I said I would give it one year, Matthew (Twomey) knew the story so I’ll just be moving on.
“We won Munster but we were right there in that game. Fair play to Kilkenny, they took advantage but that’s one we had a chance to win. It was some game. The girls were incredible right up to the end and all you can ask of any team is that they fight on their backs for you and them girls couldn’t have done anymore.
“I was in Cork over 80 times, we trained around 90 times. I have to say being a coach is different to being a manager and fair play to Matthew Twomey, he did an unbelievable job. It wasn’t easy all the time. He had one or two lads giving him a bit of jib when they shouldn’t have been giving him a bit of jib because he doesn’t deserve it, but he stuck to his guns. He’s a strong man and I wish him and the girls all the best. I will never forget the year.”
Fitzgerald has no doubt that Cork will be able to recover from a second successive final loss. “The girls will come back. They will know they could have won it. They will bounce back. Look at the average age of the team, they will learn from this.
“It’s another final defeat but when they went down by six in the first half in this one they didn’t lose their heads, they stayed in control, got back level and went ahead a few times. Missed a few chances, made a mistake at the end but in general they gave it everything and stuck to a gameplan they worked very hard on.”
Looking back over his season, Fitzgerald’s eyes were opened to the commitment levels of the players and the standard of refereeing. “The girls train so hard and they don’t get enough recognition. They deserve more. I’d like to see The Camogie Association get more help. That was a spectacle of a final and everyone enjoyed it and I genuinely believe they should be shown more for what they’re putting it, from every county.
“Ray Kelly was unreal today – that’s the way refereeing should be done. There are a few like him, John Dermody another, a good lad. About 70%-80% of the refs are very decent, there might be 10% or 20% of them who need to look at themselves.
“I got to try out a lot of tactical stuff this year, which was great for me. I can only look back on it as a good year where we just finished a bit short.”