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Davy Fitzgerald Has Cited A Familiar Reason For Clare's Stunning Win Yesterday

Davy Fitzgerald Has Cited A Familiar Reason For Clare's Stunning Win Yesterday
By Conor Neville

In his Irish Independent column last Saturday, Christy O'Connor disclosed that Clare's backroom team now boasts no fewer than 31 members.

He wrote that Fitzgerald and Og Cusack had assembled 'an impressive and multi-layered' management team of the type never before seen in inter-county hurling.

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However, one energetic and highly productive member of the backroom team who he (surely) forgot to mention was the negative media clipping officer.

Davy Fitz celebrated yesterday's sensational victory over Kilkenny in the traditional way, by letting the punditocracy know that they helped make the day possible.

He told journalists afterwards that there were one or two quotes used during the week that he found highly disrespectful towards his team. The comments were reported by the Irish Examiner's John Fogarty.

There was one or two quotes used during the week that we used, that we might as well not turn up today. I thought it was very disrespectful. I don’t think we’re a bad team. I think we’ve showed that, over the last number of years. We’re not full of it, but, I think, when we’re right, we’ll compete, and that’s what we did today.

This sort of sniping has appeared to irk Davy before. Did it annoy him? Not a bit of it. This type of talk only serves as motivation.

No, it was great motivation. I hope people keep saying it! That’s brilliant, when you’re written-off. That’s great.

It's becoming increasingly hard to believe that Clare GAA doesn't currently employ an intern whose sole role is to scour the internet for negative comments about the Clare senior hurlers.

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Their dressing room wall must be so plastered over with newspaper cuttings at this point, that it probably resembles Agent Mulder's office.

It isn't just restricted to Davy. Last year's Clare county board AGM was largely dedicated to rounding on the county's critics, the highlight being when then county board chairman and non-Balls.ie reader Michael McDonagh attacked the long defunct online forum 'An Fear Rua' and 'The Clare Hurlers Forum', saying, 'some people hide behind social media and say what they like. They are anonymous. I know nothing about it. I was never on a website or a computer in my life.'

Some counties and managers are less prone to this type of response than others. When Daithi Regan emphatically dismissed the 'flaky' Galway hurlers ahead of last year's semi-final against Tipperary, neither Anthony Cunningham nor his players even mentioned the outburst in their post-match interviews.

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Who knows, perhaps there is something even more sinister going on?

When Pat Rabbitte embarked on a valedictory round of interviews after announcing he was not long for Dail Eireann, he drew the usual analogy between the Greek government and the Irish government.

While the Greek government wasted time holding referenda and, worse still, lecturing their European betters on irrelevancies like macroeconomics, the Irish government got on with the real job, stealthily planting pro-Irish articles in the foreign press.

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It got us thinking. Could senior inter-county managers be at the same thing?

The siege mentality is well established as a potent motivational tool. Maybe Clare's intern isn't just finding negative comments, but writing them? Thereby providing yet more of that precious motivation.

The siege mentality is, after all, well established as a potent motivational tool. Maybe Clare's intern isn't just finding negative comments, but writing them? Thereby providing yet more of that precious motivation.

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We alluded to this possibility following Maurice Shanahan's mystifying assertion that Waterford had been written off ahead of last year's All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin. Not one person could find evidence of Waterford being written off.

Read more: Two Weeks Of Disrespect: Armagh Ladies Decry 'Incompetence' Of LGFA In Strong Statement

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