25 Jun 2022

“Never say never to anything” - Davy Fitzgerald on the possibility of managing Offaly

“Never say never to anything” - Davy Fitzgerald on the possibility of managing Offaly

Davy Fitzgerald has a penalty saved by Brian Whelahan in the 1998 All-Ireland semi-final.

DAVY Fitzgerald is one of hurling's most sought after managers and he did not rule out the possibility of managing Offaly at some stage in the future when asked about it last week.

Speaking in Killeigh where he is promoting a Midlands Fittest Superstars Team Challenge for the local Schoolboys and Girls Soccer Club – it is on this Saturday -, Fitzgerald stated that a project such as Offaly could interest him at some stage but was very much non commital while stressing that he has unfinished business with his native Clare.

“I don't know. In my life I love a challenge,” the Clare legend said.

I don't know how many jobs I was offered this year by clubs but I didn't want them. I went to Cork ladies (he is a coach with the Cork camogie team) because I feel the ladies haven't got a fair crack of the whip. The amount of hours they put in is crazy, it is phenomenal. I could have got good expenses going X, Y and Z. I took nothing going to Cork and I am doing it because I wanted to do it. In fairness they get very little on the ladies side and I said I would give it one year.

“Do I know what I am doing in the future? No. At some stage I would like to come back to my own county. I have managed Clare at U-14, 15, 16, 17, 21. I have been involved in every Clare team and I have been involved in every team in my club. Sometimes a club here and there who haven't had success come to me and ask me to help them. I have. To me it will be about the project that I like to do over the next few years.

“I love hurling and I love being involved. We have a small bit of political stuff going on in Clare that I absolutely despise and I hate. Hopefully that will pan out. In Clare, we don't need that. I just don't like certain people who should know a lot better, the way they are carrying it on and treating people. None of us know it all but we shouldn't be treating people with disrespect and making up stuff like what is being done. Hopefully that will come to an end and some time I will go back there.

“Other projects around. Never say never to anything. I will always have a listen and something might come up that might interest me completely. The ladies thing interested me because I felt it was important to put back as they put in a lot of time and also there were a few things I wanted to try out that were a small bit different and I hadn't got to try out with Wexford but really wanted to try out.

“I can definitely say I am enjoying it. I am not managing, I am coaching which is great. Matthew Twomey is doing an unbelievable job as manager. What will come for me next, I don't know. If myself and my family can stay healthy, that will be the most important thing. I have five stents in and if I can stay healthy. I want to be out in that field, no matter where it is, helping.

"People will often say to me, I should be stuck in my club (Sixmilebridge). I have given my club forty years, I have trained every team and played on every team. There will be an opportunity at some stage to go back there. I have trained the senior team for the last three years and we won two county championships. I can't stay there forever. It is important I let someone else in and it will keep changing around. If I can give someone a hand, I am a GAA person and I love being involved.”

Fitzgerald spoke about the challenges with managing teams now and in particular dealing with parents who are annoyed over their children not being picked or taken off.

“Times have changed and is it trickier dealing with players and maybe even parents? I think parents have to be not as involved. They are very pernickety if their son or daughter is not playing. I think we were better when we let the management pick who they wanted and don't be giving out to them. I'd love to see a bit of, I want my son and daughter to go out and play and whatever happens happens.

“Stop fighting their battles so much. If they are being treated very badly, fine but we have to get out of this thing. We will lose people over teams if we keep giving out to them all the time. If the mam's and dad's keep thinking they know it all, all the time. Unless they want to get involved themselves, let the people over the teams do the job. That is very important and stop thinking you know it all on certain things. I am not saying that in a bad way but I feel it is creeping in a bit more.”

He was told about Offaly managers being approached by supporters after games and being told who they should pick and where.

“I don't mind a person having an opinion but keep it to yourself. The management are spending hours and hours and hours doing it. That person might think they are doing good but they are not doing good. Anyone going up to Michael Fennelly like that is not helping the situation. I would encourage the likes of that lady, okay you might have an idea that you feel can help but if you do, don't approach it in that manner. It doesn't make sense.”

He reacted quickly and definitively when it was suggested that Offaly and Davy Fitzgerald would not fit at the moment as they would need to be performing at a much higher level than they are.

“No, I am a funny buck. I was giving a talk to Rockwell College, a rugby team last night and they asked me if I had to pick one thing out when I was over a team that I really enjoyed what would it be? I won All-Ireland's and I have won X, Y and Z, Munster's, Leinster's, leagues, training team. One of the ones I picked out was winning an intermediate championship with Killanena. They had never won it before and in 2010 I helped them win their first intermediate. When they had won, I just went back to the fence and watched people and the emotion. That is right up there on my list with the other ones.

“I have done that with a number of teams. I have a very decent CV with a lot of stuff won and ye don't realise half of the stuff club wise but I love seeing a crowd that haven't won in a long time win. I am kind of like that. That is what I am saying. It is whatever I feel works at the time. Would I like to get involved in a top class team again? Maybe, that might happen but if it doesn't, I will be involved in something else. I am spending this year trying to learn even more.

“Can I be a better manager? If you could see the lengths I have gone to this year, I have gone to different people, different places. I am trying to rethink how can I be better, I am trying to deal with stuff better. Can I come up with different training methods? Can I come up with new ideas to play? I am spending the year this year trying to be better than what I have been. Don't make presumptions. The project will decide. Whatever will come in the next few years, I just want to stay fit and healthy and I just want people to stay fit and healthy and enjoy life. That is my thing.”

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