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Davy Fitzgerald Passionately Clarifies His Displeasure With Shefflin & Duignan Analysis

Davy Fitzgerald Passionately Clarifies His Displeasure With Shefflin & Duignan Analysis
By Mikey Traynor Updated

After Waterford booked their place in the all Ireland semi-finals with a four point win over Wexford in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday, Davy Fitzgerald hit out at Henry Shefflin and Michael Duignan for their comments on the tactics that were employed by the former Clare boss.

We heard Duignan's response earlier today when he told Davy to 'grow up' in his column in the Irish Daily Mail, but Fitzgerald spoke to Joe Molloy on Off The Ball later on Monday to clear up a few things on his side.

He was keen to express that he has no problem with either Duignan or Shefflin, but felt that there was no consideration being taken as to what he is dealing with at Wexford and feels the expecatations as to how his team should play are unreaslistic.

Let me say this, I don't have a problem with the guys that were giving criticism. They were great hurlers in their own right but I don't think they understand exactly, from a management point of view, where the game is now and what you have to do to try and compete.

That's why I don't mind having a few words about that, there's no problem. Obviously I'm down after yesterday and disappointed but that's hurling.

Listen, we all haven't got the same players in each county, right? You even look at it like, since the mid-90s we've lost Offaly, they've obviously been trying to play a certain way, I don't know if it's worked or not, but we've lost them, and we've been pretty close to losing one or two others.

Over the last 10 years, Kilkenny have won 7 all Irelands, Tipp have won 2, and Clare have won 1. Now Clare have won 1, and we used a sweeper in the semi final and the quarter final and if we didn't we would have been in big trouble, we had to, we had to play to our strengths, we had a very fast team that could move around so we had to play short and long ball.

Basically, in my view, you have to play with what you're dealt, and I think that's very important, it can't be the same rule for everyone. Or else you're just going to have the same two in your final every time, maybe 3.

Fitzgerald continued to rubbish the idea that his players are playing 'with the shackles on', one of the better GAA cliches that pops up with regularity, and went as far as to call it hilarious.

I get some laugh when I hear that. It's actually hilarious so it is. What they're saying is just get the ball and hit the ball, that's the extent of the thinking, and win your own ball.

But the way Derek [McGrath] set up and I set up, even Kieran Kingston to a degree, I can tell you, he has done a phenomenal job on Cork, and it isn't that he's let the players loose, he's built a system that suits him. It's fantastic to see that he's using what is best for his team, and he's got the results, it's the same with our lads.

They have a number of things that they can do with us, they have a lot more thinking, there's so much different things and it's down to the player to do the right thing. It's just not a game of get the ball and hit the ball so it isn't.

There are arguments for it, and there are arguments against, and I respect people that think like that, but I'm just one of these people who wants to find a way for a team that hasn't been doing well to do well.

Before he left, Davy stressed that he has no personal issue with Michael Duignan, but rather he finds it difficult to accept his criticism as he believes he does not understand how things work on the sidelines in the modern game.

It just annoys me and I'm sure Derek is the same. I'd encourage Michael, if he could, just go down the sideline, get involved with maybe Offaly, put his thoughts into action and see how he gets on because it's a different thing when you have to go down to that sideline and you have to make decisions for 30 of a panel or whatever to get the best for them, to give them a chance to be successful.

I've met Michael on a number of occasions and I think he's a good guy and I like him but that doesn't mean that I think he's right. Surely I'm allowed to have my opinion the same as he is allowed to have his. That's all I'm saying and I'm entitled to that.

The lack of personal tension is unlikely to be enough for this to subside, and we imagine this is not the last we've heard regarding the fallout from Sunday's quarter-final.

You can listen to Fitzgerald's passionate discussion with Joe Molloy in full over on Newstalk.com.

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