Davy Fitzgerald has admitted that encountering a number of seriously ill children in Wexford this year has put hurling and his own management role into its proper context.
The former All-Ireland winning Clare boss enjoyed a successful first season in the South East though he was disappointed to come up short of Waterford in Sunday’s quarter-final tie.
Fitzgerald said he will take a number of weeks out now to consider his position though noted pointedly that he will be only talking to Wexford officials in the coming weeks.
Ger Cunningham’s departure in Dublin has left a high profile vacancy there though the Sixmilebridge man batted away the question when asked if he was interested in that job.
“You can’t talk about things like that,” said Fitzgerald. “At the moment, I’m the Wexford manager. I told them I need a small bit of time. There are a few personal things I just want to sort out.”
Fitzgerald claimed the reality is that hurling isn’t so important in the broader scheme of things and explained what he meant.
“I look at things in perspective now, this year alone I’ve brought different young lads into the Wexford camp, different young guys that have illnesses,” he said at the launch of the M Donnelly All-Ireland Poc Fada finals.
“Myself and one of the lads visited a young lad above in Temple Street Hospital. All we want to do is to see this young lad get well. He was healthy a number of months ago, got a virus, and we just want to see him get well.
“We had another young guy from Ferns who got cancer and he came and visited us at training. All the lads took to him unreal. I think he’s got the all clear now thanks be to God.
“We had another young guy in a week ago, he was our guest on Sunday, and he has to have some of his leg amputated, at 10 years of age.
“What the feck, like, and this is what I said to the boys: ‘We’ll get over Sunday, we’ll get over defeats’. When I look at some of the things happening out there. That’s why I always try to ground myself, to think of other people that are the way they are. We’ll get over Sunday.”
Fitzgerald’s own health has been an issue in recent times with the two-time All-Ireland winning goalkeeper undergoing a heart procedure last year, the second such surgery he’s had since 2009.
Weeks after last summer’s surgery he stood down as Clare manager and despite being advised by his GP to take some time out, agreed to manage Wexford just days later.
“The doctor said it to me last year it might do no harm to take a breather for a while,” said Fitzgerald. “I could really take it easy and do nothing but I’d be fecking miserable.
“Even if I’m getting into trouble or I’m doing something like that, I love it. I absolutely love it. There will come a time when I might not be able for it but I feel okay at the moment.
“Everyone would have this perception that I get awful worked up. I’ll ask you to ask the Clare players or the Wexford players or the Waterford players how worked up I actually get. I don’t.
“I get excited by it and I love it. Will I get excited about it and go after it? Yeah, but even take the suspension this year, as much as I was called different things I didn’t lose it that day. If you look at me I didn’t lose it.”
Asked if that meant his high profile incursion onto the pitch for Wexford’s league semi-final defeat to Tipperary was calculated, he smiled and shook his head. “I better not get into that but all I’ll say is I did not lose it and maybe there will be a point next year at some stage where I’ll explain exactly what was on my mind during that particular thing.
“But, trust me, it wasn’t just me losing it. That’s a fact.”
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