Proud. Peeved. Praising. Davy Fitzgerald was a bundle of emotions as he held court in the narrow dressing room tunnel under Wexford Park on Saturday evening.
He was immensely proud of his players. “The only consolation I have is we had 13 players for most of the second half and how we managed to do what we did I’ll never know.
“No other team in the country would have done what they did today.”
But he was just as peeved with referee Johnny Ryan. “If sendings-off are sendings-off they are. But maybe they should be the same on both sides. I saw something towards the end that was crazy but I’m not going to do the job. I thought Aaron Cunningham was absolutely killed and it was a free out. What are you meant to do when you have the ball going towards goal and if you can’t hit it there must be somebody pulling you? We got blown for steps. There’s no point complaining.”
And there was high praise for Clare’s victors Wexford. “The most important thing is that we don’t detract from Wexford’s win. Fair play to Wexford they showed great heart and tenacity and my hats are off to them. They’re a fantastic team.”
Still, Fitzgerald couldn’t completely hide his sense of injustice after seeing two men sent off. Both, he said, could have been justified but “it’s important to win graciously (sic), it’s very important to f****** do this but if I could tell you how I really feel in the pit of my stomach it just wouldn’t be good to print. I’ll just leave it and let Wexford have their day because they deserved it with the heart they showed.”
Fitzgerald said he fully intended continuing with the team next season but admitted there were issues to iron out in the county.
“We’ll see what my story is. I was given another three years. To say I’m disappointed with certain things would be putting it mildly. But that’s something I’m not going to talk about here. If we’ve any little bit of homework to do we’ll do it in our own county. I’m a bit disillusioned with everything, even inside our own county but the only thing for me is I absolutely love the bones of them guys.
“My own thing? We’ll see what happens. It’s very hard. There’s been lies even told in the last week that I’m not totally happy with but whatever else I am, I don’t tell lies!
“I’m going to keep my head down and think about it for a few months.”
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