|Irish name||Daithí Mac Gearailt|
2 August 1971 |
Sixmilebridge, County Clare, Ireland
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Occupation||LIT director of hurling|
|*Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 20:42, 27 June 2013.|
Born in Sixmilebridge, County Clare, Fitzgerald was introduced to hurling by his father, the long-serving secretary of the county board. He enjoyed All-Ireland success at colleges level as sub-goalkeeper with St. Flannan's College while simultaneously enjoying championship successes at underage levels with the Sixmilebridge club. A one-time All-Ireland medallist with the Sixmilebridge senior team, Fitzgerald also won two Munster medals and six championship medals.
Fitzgerald made his debut on the inter-county scene at the age of fifteen when he first linked up with the Clare minor team. An All-Ireland runner-up in this grade, he later joined the under-21 team. Fitzgerald made his senior debut during the 1989-90 league. He went on to play a key role for Clare as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his era, and won two All-Ireland medals and three Munster medals. He was an All-Ireland runner-up on one occasion.
As a member of the Munster inter-provincial team, Fitzgerald won three Railway Cup medals. Throughout his inter-county career he made 60 championship appearances, a record for a Clare player. Fitzgerald retired from inter-county hurling on 31 March 2008.
Even as a player, Fitzgerald became involved in team management and coaching at club level. After coaching every grade of Sixmilebridge team from juvenile to senior, he later had an unsuccessful tenure in charge of Nenagh Éire Óg. Fitzgerald subsequently became director of hurling at the Limerick Institute of Technology, and guided the team to two Fitzgibbon Cup titles.
Fitzgerald's first managerial role at inter-county level was with Waterford in 2008. His appointment was somewhat controversial, in that he came in midway through the season after a number of players had called for the resignation of previous incumbent Justin McCarthy. He led Waterford to the All-Ireland final that season, however, the team faced a 23-point defeat by three-in-a-row champions Kilkenny. Fitzgerald stepped down as manager in 2011, having secured the Munster crown the previous year.
Just one month later Fitzgerald was appointed Clare manager. In the 2012 season, his first full season in charge, Fitzgerald guided the team to promotion to the top flight of the National Hurling League. The following year, Clare survived a league relegation battle with Cork, before later claiming their first All-Ireland title in seventeen years following a thrilling draw and a replay victory over Cork.
- 1 Playing career
- 2 Managerial career
- 3 Career statistics
- 4 Honours
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Fitzgerald played his club hurling with his local team in Sixmilebridge and enjoyed much success in a career that spanned four decades and 100 senior championship games.
After making his debut as a substitute in Sixmilebridge's opening championship game in 1989, Fitzgerald subsequently took over from Brendan Flynn as first-choice goalkeeper. It was a successful debut season as he captured his first county championship medal following a 3–14 to 1–11 defeat of Clarecastle.
For only the second time in the history of the club, Sixmilebridge retained their championship title in 1993 following a 3–8 to 2–6 defeat of O'Callaghan's Mills. It was Fitzgerald's third county championship medal.
Three-in-a-row proved beyond Sixmilebridge, however, the team bounced back to reach the championship decider again in 1995. Scariff provided the opposition on that occasion, however, Sixmilebridge secured the victory by just a single point on a score line of 2–10 to 0–15. The win gave Fitzgerald a fourth county championship medal. "The Bridge" later qualified for the provincial decider against Tipp champions Nenagh Éire Óg. A converted penalty by Fitzgerald helped the team to a 2–18 to 1–7 victory and the Munster title. Sixmilebridge later qualified for the All-Ireland final where Dunloy were the opponents. The Ulstermen provided little opposition as the Clare champions surged to a 5–10 to 2–6 victory. It was Fitzgerald's first All-Ireland medal.
After losing the championship decider in 1999, Sixmilebridge bounced back the following year to reach the county showpiece once again. Éire Óg were the opponents, however, Fitzgerald won a fifth championship medal following a 4–9 to 1–8 defeat of Éire Óg. He later added a second Munster medal to his collection following a 2–17 to 3–8 defeat of Mount Sion in the provincial final.
After surrendering their title in 2001, Sixmilebridge returned to the county final the following year. Clarecastle provided the opposition, however, a 3–10 to 2–8 victory gave Fitzgerald his sixth championship medal. This win also proved to be his last major victory with the club.
Fitzgerald continued with Sixmilebridge until he decided to retire after the 2008 championship. He came out of retirement in 2011 to make his 100th appearance and help the club to qualify for the county final once again.
Fitzgerald first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Clare minor hurling team. He won a Munster medal in this grade in 1989 following a one-point defeat of Limerick. Clare subsequently qualified for the All-Ireland decider against Offaly. A 2–16 to 1–12 score line gave the Leinster champions the victory. Fitzgerald subsequently moved onto the inter-county under-21 team but had little success in this grade.
In 1990 Davy played with the Clare senior team for the first time in a National Hurling League game against Down. It was a successful campaign as he subsequently won a Division 2 winners' medal in his debut season. Daly made his first Munster Championship appearance in 1990 when Clare took on Limerick, however, it wasn't a happy period for Clare, then regarded as the minnows of Munster hurling.
In 1993 Clare were trounced in the Munster decider by Tipperary, having already being relegated from the top flight of the National League.
After winning a second Division 2 title in the National League in 1994, Fitzgerald's side went on to lose another Munster decider, this time to Limerick.
In 1995 Ger Loughnane took over as manager of the Clare senior hurling team and made sweeping changes. New fitness regimes and new personalised diets and, above all, a new psychological approach, resulted in the fittest and most prepared Clare team ever taking to the field for a third consecutive Munster final in 1995. Limerick were the opponents for a second consecutive year and took an early lead. Clare never surrendered and, thanks to an inspirational penalty by goalkeeper FitzGerald, fought back to win by 1–17 to 0–11. It was Fitzgerald's first Munster title and Clare's first since 1932. Fitzgerald's side later qualified for the All-Ireland final and were the underdogs against reigning champions Offaly. Although trailing at half-time, substitute Éamonn Taaffe scored a crucial goal to propel Clare to a 1–13 to 2–8 victory. It was their first championship title in eighty-one years. As well as collecting an All-Ireland medal, Fitzgerald was later honoured with a first All-Star award.
After surrendering their provincial and All-Ireland crowns in 1996, Clare bounced back the following year. A 1–18 to 0–18 defeat of Tipperary gave Fitzgerald a second Munster medal in three years. Clare subsequently qualified for the All-Ireland decider. Due to the introduction of the "back-door" system Tipperary provided the opposition in the first all-Munster All-Ireland final. The game itself was one of the best of the decade. Clare were well on top for much of the game, however, Liam Cahill and Eugene O'Neill scored twice for Tipp in the last ten minutes. John Leahy missed a goal chance in the last minute while another Tipp point was controversially ruled wide. At the full-time whistle Clare won by a single point – 0–20 to 2–13. It was a second All-Ireland medal for Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald won his third and final Munster medal in 1998 following a tense draw and a replay with Waterford. While Clare were installed as the favourites to retain their All-Ireland crown, a series of bizarre events led to one of the most controversial championship summers ever. Clare drew with Offaly in the All-Ireland semi-final, however, in the replay Clare were winning by two points when the referee, Jimmy Cooney, blew the whistle with two minutes of normal time left to be played. The Offaly fans were outraged and staged a sit-down protest on the Croke Park pitch. The result wasn't allowed to stand and Clare were forced to meet Offaly for a third time that year. They lost the second replay.
After a number of disappointing championship seasons, Clare surprised the hurling world by qualifying for the All-Ireland final again in 2002. Fitzgerald's side put up a good fight against Kilkenny, however, a combined tally of 2–13 for both Henry Shefflin and D. J. Carey gave 'the Cats' a seven-point victory.
After a number of disappointing seasons and some near misses, Clare bounced back in 2005. In spite of an early exit from the provincial campaign Fitzgerald's side subsequently qualified for an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Cork. In that game Clare had the reigning All-Ireland champions on the ropes. Clare led by six points at one stage, however, Cork fought back to defeat Clare by just one point.
In 2006 Clare were comprehensively defeated by Cork in their opening game in the championship. After topping group B of the qualifier series for the second consecutive year Clare subsequently defeated Wexford to set up an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Kilkenny. Clare, however, were defeated once again.
In early 2007 speculation was rife that Fitzgerald was on the cusp of retiring due to his unhappiness with certain aspects of the county set-up and a difference of opinion with new manager Tony Considine. He was later omitted from Clare's National League panel in spite of a crisis meeting between Fitzgerald and Considine. As a result of the disagreement between the two men, Fitzgerald also remained sidelined for the championship campaign. At the end of the year Fitzgerald contemplated a return to inter-county hurling once again. In early 2008 he returned to the Clare senior hurling team under new manager Mike McNamara. He played a challenge match against Kilkenny, however, a serious finger injury hampered his style of play. After this unsuccessful return he eventually decided to retire from inter-county hurling on 31 March 2008.
Fitzgerald also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial hurling championship where he played alongside his championship rivals from other Munster hurling counties. He first played for his province in 1993 as Munster were surprisingly defeated by Ulster in the semi-final.
By 1996 Fitzgerald was the first-choice 'keeper on the Munster team. A 2–20 to 0–10 defeat of Leinster gave him his first Railway Cup medal on the field of play. He added a second successive Railway Cup medal to his collection in 1997 following another defeat of Leinster.
After an absence of a number of years, Fitzgerald was recalled to the Munster team in 2005. A 1–21 to 2–14 defeat of Leinster gave him his third Railway Cup winners' medal.
Fitzgerald has also enjoyed success in the famous Poc Fada competition held annually in the Cooley Mountains Winning the men’s senior event in 1999 and 2002. Fitzgerald has also been a winner in the pairs competition on 5 occasions winning in 1993 with Michael Shaughnessy of Galway, in 1998 with Seamus McMullan of Antrim, in 2002 with Graham Clarke of Down, in 2005 with Damien Fitzhenry of Wexford and in 2007 with Albert Shanahan of Limerick
Limerick Institute of Technology
Fitzgerald enjoyed a successful tenure as manager of the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) hurling team. In 2005 Fitzgerald's side won the final of the Fitzgibbon Cup, defeating near rivals University of Limerick in the process.
Two years later LIT were back in the Fitzgibbon decider once again. A 2–15 to 0–13 defeat of the National University of Ireland, Galway gave LIT the title and gave Fitzgerald a second Fitzgibbon Cup as manager.
Even during his playing days Fitzgerald became heavily involved in coaching and managing teams. Since the early 1990s he has coached virtually every team from juvenile to senior with his own native Sixmilebridge club. In 2005 he was appointed manager of the club's senior hurling team. His tenure was an unsuccessful one as a number of new clubs emerged to shake up the championship.
Nenagh Éire Óg
In 2008 Fitzgerald took over as manager of the Nenagh Éire Óg club team in Tipperary. After two successive losses to Borris-Ileigh and Toomevara in the North Tipperary championship, his tenure was in doubt, however, he eventually walked away due to his commitments as an inter-county manager.
Following Justin McCarthy's resignation as manager of the Waterford senior hurling team following a defeat by Clare, Fitzgerald was ratified as his successor for the duration of the 2008 championship. He immediately steadied the ship and subsequent defeats of Antrim, Offaly, Wexford and Tipperary saw Waterford reach the All-Ireland final for the first time in forty-five years. Kilkenny provided the opposition and went on to trounce Waterford by 3–30 to 1–13 to claim a third All-Ireland title in-a-row.
After a disappointing National League campaign in 2009, Waterford still qualified for the All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny. Despite a far better performance than the previous encounter, Waterford lost 2–23 to 3–15.
In 2010 Fitzgerald guided Waterford back to the Munster final for a second consecutive year. Cork provided the opposition, however, a 2–15 apiece draw was the result. The subsequent replay saw Waterford win the provincial title by 1–16 to 1–13.
Fitzgerald's final season in charge featured some high points as well as a lot of negative criticism. After a 7–19 to 0–19 trouncing at the hands of Tipperary in the 2011 Munster final, Waterford still reached a fourth successive All-Ireland semi-final. Kilkenny once again put a halt to Waterford's All-Ireland hopes with a six-point defeat.
Following this defeat Fitzgerald informed the Waterford county board that he would not be seeking another term as manager of the senior hurling team bringing an end to his three years in charge.
On 11 October 2011 Fitzgerald was confirmed as the Clare senior hurling manager on a three-year term. His first season in charge saw Clare gain promotion from Division 1B following a defeat of Limerick in the final.
On 18 August 2013, Clare got to the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final after a 1–22 to 0–18 win against Limerick at Croke Park. On 28 September Fitzgerald managed Clare to win the All Ireland senior title, beating Cork 5–16 to 3–16 in a replay. In October 2013, Fitzgerald was handed a further three-year extension in charge of the Clare team which will bring him up to the end of 2016. Clare failed to defend their All-Ireland title in 2014, eventually losing to Wexford by 2-25 to 2-22 in a round 1 qualifier replay in Wexford.
In March 2015, Clare were relegated from Division 1A of the National Hurling League after a 1-17 to 1-18 defeat to Kilkenny. On 11 July 2015, Clare lost to Cork on a 0-17 to 0-20 scoreline to exit the 2015 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship after previously losing to Limerick and beating Offaly during the championship. It was confirmed on 14 July 2015 that Fitzgerald would remain as manager for the next two years of his term. On 8 May 2016, Clare won the 2016 National Hurling League, their first National Hurling League title since 1978 after a 1-23 to 2-19 win against Waterford in a replay.
Clare were knocked out of the 2016 Championship by Galway in the quarter finals on 24 July, losing by six points. On 21 September 2016, Fitzgerald stepped down as Clare Senior Hurling manager, informing the Clare County Board that he would not be seeking reappointment for 2017. In a statement issued by Clare Hurlers, Fitzgerald said, "One of the greatest privileges of my life has been to manage the Clare Senior Hurling team and I am immensely proud of the success achieved during my time at the helm, in light of the ensuing meeting and the divided opinions expressed by the players, I have decided that it would be in the best interests of Clare hurling that I step down from the role of manager.”
On 7 October 2016, Fitzgerald was appointed as manager of the Wexford senior hurling team for a three-year term. On 19 February, Wexford defeated Galway by 1-21 to 3-13 in the 2017 National Hurling League at Pearse Stadium to record their second win out of two games. On 12 March 2017, Wexford achieved promotion to Division 1A of the National Hurling League with a game to spare after a 1-17 to 0-15 win against Offaly. On 2 April 2017, Wexford defeated Kilkenny by 2-18 to 0-19 at Nowlan Park in the quarter-finals of the National Hurling league, it was only the third victory from the last 21 meetings with Kilkenny.
On 16 April 2017, during the league semi-final defeat against Tipperary, Fitzgerald entered the field to challenge referee Diarmuid Kirwan thinking that it should have been a free to Wexford before the second Tipperary goal. He confronted Tipperary’s Niall O’Meara and shoved Jason Forde before leaving the field of play. Four days later Fitzgerald was handed an eight-week suspension by the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee.
- As of match played 21 September 2016.
|Waterford||11 June 2008||6 September 2011||9||8||0||1||21||10||3||8||8||4||2||2||10||6||0||4||48||28||5||15||58|
|Clare||11 October 2011||21 September 2016||17||13||1||3||34||21||2||11||5||0||0||5||15||9||2||4||71||43||5||23||60|
|Wexford||7 October 2016||Present||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
- All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship (1): 1996
- Munster Senior Club Hurling Championship (2): 1995, 2000
- Clare Senior Hurling Championship (6): 1989, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2002
- All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship (2): 1995, 1997
- Munster Senior Hurling Championship (3) 1995, 1997, 1998
- National Hurling League (Division 2) (1): 1989–90
- Munster Minor Hurling Championship (1) 1989
- Railway Cup (3): 1996, 1997, 2005
- Limerick Institute of Technology
- Fitzgibbon Cup (2): 2005, 2007
- All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship (1): 2013
- National Hurling League Division 1 (1): 2016
- National Hurling League Division 1B (1): 2012
- Munster Senior Hurling League (1): 2016
- Waterford Crystal Cup (1): 2013
Awards and achievements
- "Fitzgerald appointed to Clare". Newstalk website. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Fitzgerald retires from Clare hurling". RTÉ Sport. 31 March 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Fitzgerald hangs up his hurl". Hogan Stand. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
- "Fitzy's Century of Championship Appearances". Sixmilebridge GAA website. 6 April 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Chaplin Captains Bridge To Success". Sixmilebridge GAA website. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Kilfeather, Seán (18 March 1995). "Sixmilebridge underline upsurge in Clare hurling". Irish Times. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Kelly, Liam (16 October 2000). "Gilligan goal shatters Ennis dream of double". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Breheny, Martin (27 November 2000). "Gilligan defies injury to lead super 'Bridge show". Irish Independent. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Bridge blitz leaves rivals miles behind". Irish Independent. 4 November 2002. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- Keys, Colm (27 September 2011). "Fitzgerald to answer call for club and county". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Offaly: The glory years". Irish Independent. 9 June 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Head to head: Clare v Tipp". Irish Independent. 13 July 2008. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- "No.9 -1998 Clare v Offaly All-Ireland Hurling semi-final: When the referee blew up two minutes early, everything exploded". RTÉ Sport. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- Moran, Seán (9 September 2002). "Kilkenny a different class". Irish Times. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- "Fitzgerald to quit?". Hogan Stand website. 28 January 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "No place for Fitzgerald in panel". Irish Times. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Fitzgerald return still "up in the air"". Hogan Stand website. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Railway Cup Hurling". Munster GAA website. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- http://www.gaapocfada.com/all-ireland-final/4591853588. Missing or empty
- "LIT lift the Fitzgibbon Cup with stylish display". Limerick Leader. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2012.[permanent dead link]
- "Fitzgerald crosses 'Bridge as new boss". Hogan Stand website. 17 December 2004. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Fitzgerald dismissed as Nenagh boss". Hogan Stand website. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Fitzgerald appointed to Waterford post". RTÉ Sport. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- "RTÉ Sport: Kilkenny 3–30 Waterford 1–13". RTÉ Sport. 8 September 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "RTÉ Sport: Kilkenny 2–23 Waterford 3–15". RTÉ Sport. 9 August 2009. Archived from the original on 13 September 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
- "Waterford win the battle of Semple Stadium". Irish Examiner. 17 July 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
- "Waterford floored by Premier haymakers". Irish Examiner. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- "Fitzgerald resigns as Waterford manager". RTÉ Sport. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
- "Davy Fitz: I have no regrets, but time for new face in Waterford". Irish Independent. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2011.[permanent dead link]
- RTÉ Sport. "Fitzgerald confirmed as Clare boss". Archived from the original on 12 October 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Fitzgerald officially unveiled as new Clare supremo". Irish Examiner. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Clare pull off great escape". Irish Independent. 8 April 2012. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Banner power into decide". Hogan Stand. 18 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Clare claim a game borrowed from the gods". Irish Examiner. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
- "Finding the real Davy Fitz". Irish Examiner. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- "Fitzgerald gets three more years at Banner helm". Irish Independent. 23 October 2013. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "Fire back in Wexford as Clare tamed". Irish Examiner. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
- "Kilkenny triumph over Clare in relegation play-off". Irish Examiner. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
- "Cork seal three-point win over Clare". Irish Examiner. 11 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald gets board's backing to see out full term". Irish Independent. 14 July 2015. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "Clare take long-awaited Div 1 title in controversial circumstances against Waterford". Irish Examiner. 8 May 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- "Davy Fitzgerald steps down 'in best interests of Clare hurling'". Irish Examiner. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
- "'In light of divided opinions in the dressing room, I have decided to step down' - Davy Fitzgerald leaves Clare". Irish Independent. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
- "Davy brings down his Banner era". Irish Independent. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
- "'I'm immensely proud of the success achieved during my time' - Davy Fitz steps down as Clare manager". The 42. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
- "Confirmed! Davy Fitzgerald is the new manager of the Wexford hurlers". Irish Mirror. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
- "Davy Fitzgerald named new Wexford manager while Daly pulls out of Clare race". RTE Sport. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
- "'When I heard the split, it was an easy decision to make': Davy Fitz reveals why he left Clare - and how he ended up in Wexford". Irish Independent. 5 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
- "Delight for Davy Fitz as Wexford fight back from seven points down to beat Galway in Salthill". Irish Independent. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
- "Wexford promotion 'rates right up there' for Fitzgerald". Irish Independent. 13 March 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "Davy Fitzgerald delighted at quick march back back to top flight". Irish Examiner. 13 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "Davy Fitz leads magnificent Wexford to league semi-final with memorable win over Kilkenny". Irish Independent. 1 April 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
- "Fitzgerald could face eight-week ban for Tipp tussle". Irish Examiner. 17 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "League Sunday panel: Davy Fitzgerald overstepped the mark". RTE Sport. 17 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Davy Fitz hit with eight-week ban - returns three hours AFTER possible Leinster semi-final v Kilkenny". Irish Independent. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Profile at GAA.ie