Fitzgerald relishing prospect of Collins link up with Clare

Ephie Fitzgerald

New Clare football coach Ephie Fitzgerald believes he is entering the Banner set-up at just the right time.

Corkman Fitzgerald, who led Ballylanders to the Limerick SFC title at the weekend, will take over from Paudie Kissane and he feels the progress made by Clare this year, coupled with the relative youth of the panel, leaves them well-placed to continue their upward trajectory.

“The job was advertised so I put my name forward and I met Colm Collins last week, so it has happened fairly quickly,” he said.

“Obviously, I was involved as a coach with Limerick before, which I enjoyed, and I was with the Cork minors but I took the Ballylanders job because I felt I had unfinished business up there.

“There’s a great age-profile in the Clare squad, they’re young and talented. They ran Kerry close last year and were unlucky to lose to Kildare in the qualifiers you could say, so there’s a good base and we’d hope to build on that.

“I was impressed with Colm, he seems very organised and I’m hopeful about seeing where this leads.”

Fitzgerald led Nemo Rangers to four Cork SFC titles in a row in the mid-2000s and could see himself as an inter-county manager in the future, but the role with Clare — where he will be a selector too — is a perfect fit at the moment.

“There’s a lot of travelling involved and I’ve a youngish family but I’m lucky to have such a supportive wife,” he said.

“I live for football really, outside of my job, and this role is perfect as I can focus on coaching and leave the logistics and things like that to others.

“You’d never know what might happen in the future. I went for the Cork job last year obviously and there might be other opportunities but managers at inter-county level have a lot of attention focused on them now. You’re a genius when you win and then if you lose you get criticised.

“At club level, management is now a four- or a five-man thing and it’s more at inter-county. I’m happy to be coming into a good set-up, Ger Keane is there as well, and we’ll see where it leads us.”

Meanwhile, Nemo Rangers club officials are unsure if Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé, due to sign with the Cork club, will play with the club’s senior team next year.

Ó Sé, who teaches in Fermoy, is set to join up with Nemo for the 2015 campaign. His son Micheal attends the city club.

Club secretary Bernadette Allen said yesterday: “We have yet to receive official confirmation the transfer has gone through, but we expect to do so by tomorrow or Thursday.”

Elsewhere, Mid Kerry management say they have no qualms with the decision to play Kerry’s SFC final in the Tralee backyard of their opponents Austin Stacks on October 26th.

Surprise greeted Monday night’s ruling of the Kerry CCC to schedule the final for Austin Stack Park.

Killarney’s Fitzgerald Stadium had been expected to stage the decider.

Mid Kerry manager James Sheehan and chairman Michael Sayers yesterday insisted they have no issue with the choice of venue.

“We respect the decision that has been made and we have no objections to it,” said Sheehan. “I don’t believe it hands Austin Stacks an advantage.”

Added Sayers: “We accept the decision and our sole focus is on preparing for the final.”


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