Davy Fitzgerald blasts treatment of his family as 'an absolute and utter disgrace' after defeat to Clare

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald

Dermot Crowe

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald lashed out at press and social media critics of his father, the Clare county secretary, after his side exited the championship in Thurles, losing to his native county.

The result may bring to an end his time as manager, which has already stretched to five seasons.

During the post-match interview, Fitzgerald veered off the topic of the match, having earlier spoken of his pride in Wexford’s battling performance that saw them shave nine points off an 11-point Clare lead but failed to save themselves from elimination.

“I’ve experienced the toughest year that I’ve ever experienced in GAA,” he told the assembled media under a baking sun.

“The way myself and my family have been treated is an absolute and utter disgrace. The way I felt all week, I didn’t even know if I wanted to come into this game to tell you the truth.

“I’ll put it to you like this - in Clare, the biggest problem we have is a small bunch of people that create problems. They think they’re helping and they’re not and I’m going to put it to you like this - very, very, very simply - I’m a simple person that loves GAA.

"I think I’m one of the most ever played for Clare GAA. My dad, who I’m extremely proud of, has done an unbelievable job. The amount of abuse and stick and criticism that he has taken, unwarranted, is not - not! - justified."

Fitzgerald’s father, Pat, is the long-running Clare secretary who has come under fire from delegates at county board level in meetings this year.

"And can I say to people, people have brothers and sisters, mams and dads. People have people that actually care about them and what people in the media in Clare have done is absolutely disgusting. What people on social media have done is disgusting.

"What one or two people - one or two clubs - have done, instead of looking at themselves and how they can make their teams better, they have tried to pull us into a place that we don’t need to be," his son went on.

"What one or two clubs have done, instead of looking at themselves and how they can make their teams better, they have tried to pull us into a place we don't need to be. The amount of support I have got from within 90% of Clare clubs is absolutely incredible.

"It is only the few who need to stop, need to stop, and need to work together."

He also extended an olive branch to Brian Lohan, the Clare manager who he is no longer on friendly terms with.

"People said to me, ‘would you ever talk to Brian Lohan or any of this?’ I'll tell you straight out, for the sake of Clare, 110% if someone got a meeting between me and Brian Lohan in the morning, I'd do it," he said.

“I mightn't like Brian Lohan and mightn't have much time for him and the way he does stuff. He'd have the same for me. But we shouldn't be at each other in Clare. If Clare are to succeed, they all need to be together.

"And I am saying it straight now, would I put it to bed? I'd stand up in the morning and I would go and talk to anyone, shake hands, and I'd put it to bed. I don't want Clare to be fighting with each other. We need to have a good hard look at ourselves in Clare and stop that.

“Here the other night (referring to Clare minor's hammering from Cork), the first thing they'll do is blame the county board for stuff.

"Easy target again. We need to stop that. I can see people that can get on keyboards and do stuff, have they ever gone down the field, have they ever worked with their clubs, have they ever done stuff. We need to get a grip in Clare and we need to work together.

“I'll just bring it back, we all have families, we all have to get up in the morning and it hurts so much when your family is (can't make out what he says here), but I am proud of my family. 99% of Clare people are incredible people.

"The clubs of Clare are incredible. The few people that are creating the trouble, stop. Just stop. And work together.

"I can tell you that me and my family will absolutely support Clare to the last, so we will. When I was a young lad growing up watching Fr Harry's teams in the late 70s, I absolutely loved them and idolised them.

"My dream was to play for Clare and all I ever wanted to do was play for my own county. I loved them with all my heart. It is not right what's being done, it is not right.

"A bit of respect and people stop their egos and working together is more important, and I would encourage that to anyone 110% to work together.

"I mean that, I would talk in the morning to end everything. I don't want to talk about any more of that again, but there is lies and stuff that was said early on in the year that me and my family are very upset about. That will all come to roost very soon.

“I am finished now. I would like to thank ye for yere courtesy and thank ye for everything. I want to wish ye all the best.”

On the game itelf, Fitzgerald said the poor start proved telling.

“I thought we played good enough stuff, just disappointed with the first 15 minutes. I know if we played the first 15 minutes, trust me, you’ve seen what Wexford are like. A lot of teams would have let 12 points… we would have been right there and we actually were right there.

"The soft goal we gave away at the end, I felt we were going to stick one in the net down there, it was only a matter of time and we did but it was just that bit too late but the heart and the spirit, that’s what the GAA is about."

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