It was always unlikely that Davy Fitzgerald will be out of inter-county hurling for too long. Between playing and coaching, 2022 was the first year in over three decades that he had not been involved at that level.
He would instead focus on punditry and Cork camogie duties, although he will be back in a management role for next year. It was confirmed yesterday that the 51-year old would be in charge of Waterford for the 2023 campaign.
It is a return to the county that gave him his first opportunity in inter-county management, where he will inherit a very talented squad that should be capable of competing for the Liam MacCarthy.
Davy Fitzgerald opens up on Waterford return
There were a number of vacancies around the country this summer, meaning it was always likely that Davy Fitzgerald would be given another opportunity in management.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, the Clare legend opened up on how his return to the Deise materialised. He also said he is expecting a major challenge in Munster next year, although he felt the county should be performing better in their own province.
There was a committee put together in Waterford. We got together and had a chat a number of days ago.
I couldn't believe how thorough they were. It was a few hours of a meeting and they went into every detail. It was exciting because I love people asking me good hurling questions and from both sides was pretty much the same...
They are a really good bunch. You saw them in the league last year. Liam Cahill did a really good job over the past number of years, as did the previous managers.
Their Munster championship record I would like to be better but I would be excited about working with a bunch like this. They are very enthusiastic.
It's very competitive out there. Limerick have set the bar. We saw Clare perform last year. Cork have new management. Liam [Cahill] has gone back in to Tipp. Munster will be pretty crazy next year.
It’s going to be tough but that’s what you want. I’d like to think we’ll stand up toe-to-toe and give it a good shot with anyone.
I have to go in and assess a few things but I’m really excited about the challenge.
The last time I went in I probably got to work with some of the greatest players Waterford ever had. The only thing was a few of them were coming to the end of their career.
I started my inter-county [management] career down there and we didn’t do too bad. I’m looking forward to going back there and having a right cut at it again.
Despite entering last year's championship as one of the favourites for the All-Ireland, it would prove to be a very poor summer for Waterford. They would fail to get out of the provincial round-robin, winning one of their four matches.
Davy Fitzgerald will certainly be hoping on an improvement on that return in 2023.