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Davy Fitz And Donal Og: Desperation Or Inspiration?

Davy Fitz And Donal Og: Desperation Or Inspiration?
By Donny Mahoney
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I spent all day after hearing the Davy Fitz-Donal Og news trying to imagine the two men having a conversation about something that wasn't hurling. Politics? Sex? Wayne Rooney? Taylor Swift? I was at a loss.

It is hard to imagine two more different hurling people joining forces, but the truth is Davy Fitz and Donal Og have a lot in common. Goalkeepers, obviously. Winners. Alpha males. Men who don't shirk conflict and confrontation. Men with long memories.

They are also two men who need each other.


Davy Fitz cannot survive another wasted summer as Clare hurling manager. Clare's golden generation have only beaten Offaly in the Championship since the 2013 All-Ireland. 2015 has been was an unmitigated disaster for Clare - starting from the Davy O'Halloran incident and moving forward - and everything from the employment of a PR company to the forgiving of journalists previously blacklisted made it clear that Fitzgerald is aware he is losing hearts and minds at home.

Given the ferocity of his comments after Cork's exit from the Championship the past two seasons, we can only assume that Donal Og would want nothing more than to start the important work of saving Cork hurling. Instead he'll be driving to Ennis two nights a week. So it is for Cusack and hurlers of his generation after the strike. Maybe only success elsewhere will make others get beyond their stubbornness.

Cusack's addition will make Clare the most tactically advanced county in hurling, though it's not certain the two personalities will function together. Clare clearly lacked something without Paul Kinnerk last year. We presume Donal Og will slot into that chief assistant role, even if it is almost impossible to imagine him as an assistant. Perhaps he has been taking notes on Roy Keane.

That he would name such a big, free-thinking personality as his assistant proves that Davy Fitz is either tremendously desperate or surprisingly open-mined. He deserves credit here. He's built bridges with Podge Collins even if it means admitting he was wrong. He's now welcomed one of the smartest and most opinionated men in as his assistant coach. Davy had interesting opinions on Donal Og in the Score in 2013:


“Myself and Donal Óg Cusack wouldn’t have any great relationship, but the one thing I will say is, he is able to read it. I would be more interested in hearing what he has to say because he tries to read the game.

“He has no agendas, he’ll call it as he sees it, so he will and different things. You have to nearly experience — he experienced management at club level probably — you have to experience this on both levels.

“Me as a player I might have though I knew it all, but I tell you, it’s an Atlantic Ocean of a difference when you are trying to manage 34 or 35 people, will you keep them all happy, you won’t. You try to get 90/95 per cent of them happy and have them on your side all the time.

No agendas? We're not so sure. The two different agendas the men have could make Clare very dangerous this summer.

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