Fitzy, the man they ei­ther love or hate, driven to suc­ceed

Wexford People - - SPORT -

THE BEST sum­ma­tion of Davy Fitzger­ald ar­rives near the end of his new book, ‘At All Costs’, ghost writ­ten by jour­nal­ist Vin­cent Ho­gan, and it is pro­vided by his long-time man­age­ment team col­league, Seoirse Bulfin.

‘I of­ten say Fitzy’s the hu­man ver­sion of Mar­mite. Peo­ple ei­ther love him or hate him,’ says the man who has spent a decade and a half work­ing with the cur­rent Wex­ford Se­nior hurl­ing boss af­ter they ini­tially linked up on the Fitzgib­bon scene with L.I.T.

It’s an en­tirely apt com­par­i­son, and Bulfin adds an­other ob­ser­va­tion that will be shared by the ma­jor­ity of read­ers from out­side the for­mer star goal­keeper’s na­tive county.

‘In Clare, they love cut­ting the back off him, which I could never fig­ure out.’

Fitzy sets about try­ing to make sense of some of the rea­sons for this in what is ac­tu­ally his sec­ond book, hav­ing pre­vi­ously out­lined his play­ing ca­reer which, of course, reached the heights of All-Ire­land Se­nior glory in 1995 and 1997.

He can at least trace his fall­ing out with for­mer star full-back Brian Lo­han to some spats they had when both were ri­val man­agers on the third level scene.

He finds it more dif­fi­cult to work out why Jame­sie O’Con­nor seems to be so keen on giv­ing him such a hard time in his news­pa­per col­umns, and I must say that I have of­ten pon­dered that ques­tion my­self.

A cou­ple of things are most ap­par­ent in this en­joy­able read that will give Wex­ford sup­port­ers a bet­ter in­sight into the char­ac­ter of a man now head­ing into his third year as our man­ager.

Firstly, Fitzy places a very strong value on loy­alty, and to that end it’s easy to un­der­stand why the visit of a del­e­ga­tion of play­ers from the Model county to his home near Sixmile­bridge a few months ago con­vinced him to stay on for an­other sea­son.

Se­condly, the one thing he ab­hors above all else is be­trayal by peo­ple he ei­ther played with or man­aged over the years. I can cer­tainly em­pathise with that, as I feel the ex­act same way from my own time in charge of one par­tic­u­lar back­room team.

The book deals with the 2018 cam­paign in the pro­logue, and it was cer­tainly a dif­fi­cult day for Davy for more than one rea­son when our bid for hon­ours ended in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh against his na­tive county, fast de­vel­op­ing into a grave­yard for our hurl­ing hopes.

There’s no point giv­ing ri­val teams and man­agers po­ten­tial am­mu­ni­tion to be used against us in 2019, and I didn’t de­tect any­thing spe­cific that could fall into that cat­e­gory.

I also reckon that an­other ob­ser­va­tion by for­mer Clare man­ager Fr. Harry Bo­han is bang on the money. ‘I have a the­ory that the bul­ly­ing of his child­hood even­tu­ally worked in Davy’s favour,’ his good friend notes.

‘It made him de­ter­mined not to be put down. It hurt him so badly, it gave him de­fi­ance. No­body would best him again.’

Never shy about ex­press­ing an opin­ion, Fitzy doesn’t hold back in deal­ing with the is­sues and per­son­al­ity clashes that marked his time as man­ager of Water­ford and Clare re­spec­tively.

And while his health was poor when he de­cided to take the Wex­ford job, his en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm quickly re­turned and he’s clearly a man hell bent on bring­ing suc­cess to the county.

Let’s hope he has more of a pos­i­tive na­ture to write about by the end of 2019, and one thing is abun­dantly clear from this book: if we fail again, it cer­tainly won’t be from a lack of try­ing on his part. ALAN AHERNE

Visit The Book Cen­tre on Wex­ford’s Main Street for the very best se­lec­tion of sports books.

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