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Davy Fitz Met With Maurice Shanahan For Two Hours About Overcoming Depression

Davy Fitz Met With Maurice Shanahan For Two Hours About Overcoming Depression

Two minutes into injury time - of extra-time - in the National Hurling League final on Sunday, Maurice Shanahan showed a steely nerve to point an equalising free for Waterford. The game ended in a draw, 22 points a piece.

Post-match, a superb picture by Sportsfile (above) captured Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald embracing Shanahan.

To get the full story behind that picture, you need to go back to last year...

Originally published December 1st, 2015.

Maurice Shanahan bared his soul on WLR radio with a long and intense interview about his battle with depression. There are many facets to the 46-minute long interview but one of the most interesting aspects is the role that former Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald played in helping Shanahan.

It was Davy Fitz who handed Maurice his Waterford debut back in 2009. Fitzgerald famously fell out with many of the legends of that great Waterford team, namely John Mullane and Maurice's brother, Dan, but Maurice never lost his affection for the Clareman.

I kind of took a liking to him. He gave me my chance against Clare. To be fair, I never performed under him. I suppose when Davy left Waterford, I stayed in touch with him. He would always pick up the phone and ring me.

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Maurice discusses his journey to hell and back over the last 12 months in the interview. He also talks about the role that the hurling community played in helping his recovery. That helping hand was extended from people within his club (Lismore) and county, but also from people outside Waterford. One day, former Waterford selector Pat Bennett informed him that Davy Fitz was available to meet if he wanted to.

My parents said 'Jesus do'. They didn't say no because of [the fallout with] Dan... Davy drove down from Clare to Cahir. We met in Cahir House hotel. I say we were there for around 2 hours. I told him everything that went on, like, and why I was suffering from it. To be fair, the man was unbelievable to me. And he still is to this day. He still gets in contact with me. There a few weeks ago, I was up at his house. He's still in contact with me. Waterford are playing Clare in the first round of the championship but that don't matter. He said he's not going to stop ringing me because Waterford are playing Clare.

It was just one of many conversations that people had with Maurice Shanahan at a difficult time in his life, but it seems like an open and honest one. Davy Fitz is divisive figure but his continuing openness towards his former player proves the kind of man he is. After Clare won the 2013 All-Ireland, Fitzgerald spoke candidly about his experience being bullied as a kid and the bond he had formed with the victorious Clare team.

Maybe Shanahan summed it up best when he said the following in the interview:

Hurling is a game but life is life.

We highly recommend listening to the entire interview to fully appreciate one of the most incredible and inspiring seasons of any Irish athlete, ever.

Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Donny Mahoney
Article written by
Donny Mahoney is Chief Sportswriter and one of the founders of Balls.ie

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