A WIN for Clare and a significant one, it being a first over Kilkenny at senior level in nine years.
There’s no time for post-match euphoria though – instead just cut to Davy Fitzgerald who’s a picture of serenity as he saunters back out onto the field to fulfill some media obligations.
He might be in a boxer’s posture with a hoodie over his head, but he’s Maharishi Yogi-type calm as a forest of iphones and dictaphones rain down. “It was a dogged type of a game and Kilkenny could have won it just as easily as we won it,” he says. “So listen, it’s a win but I’m not reading into it. Kilkenny practically had only half a team out there today, they’d a lot of young fellas in and trying them out.
“Kilkenny had two of three opportunities of goals that Tuohy made a great save, we stopped a penalty and they had another wide open chance in the first half so we have to be realistic, they did create chances. Trust me, Kilkenny are going to have a say this year, I know it, I know it,” he adds.
But what of Clare? It’s that first win over Kilkenny since 2005, after all. And all on the back of the tanking to Tipperary in the Waterford Crystal Cup final and being six weeks training behind the rest of the pack in Division 1.
“I’m shocked,” admits Fitzgerald. “I didn’t think they’d have that much in the tank, I genuinely didn’t because the trimming we got in the Waterford Crystal Final last week was a big one.
“Maybe that trimming mightn’t have done them any harm, it hurt them maybe a small bit to get beaten like that and they showed great courage out there. It was nice to see that bit of fight in them.
“These conditions wouldn’t be our ideal conditions to tell you the truth but they worked hard, we’d a lot of small lads out there and I thought they played well. Fair play, even young Tots [Cathal O’Connell] who came on at the end, it was his first game; Shane Golden who started for us, it was his first game as well; Donal Tuohy in goals who had to wait two years for a chance brought off an unbelievable save.
“I think what actually helped us in the end was the subs we used, I think they actually got us a bit of momentum and we just know that we probably are not fit enough yet, no near what we want anyway. It wasn’t that the lads were playing bad, it’s just that we needed to get new blood in there to try and give us a small bit of a buzz coming into the last ten minutes. I thought it worked.”
For full coverage and analysis of Clare’s win over Kilkenny as well as a preview of Clare V Anthony Daly’s Dublin see this week’s Clare People