Hurling and camogie

Clare hurler David Fitzgerald: it's us against Wexford, not against Davy Fitz

Pictured at the All Ireland Senior Football and Hurling Championship Launch at Dun Aengus in the Aran Islands) Co Galway) are from left) Damien Comer (Galway) Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin) with the Sam Maguire Cup, Shane Enright (Kerry), Seamus Harnedy (Cork) Johnny Coen (Galway) with the Liam MacCarthy Cup and David Fitzgerald (Clare). Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Darragh Small

Clare hurler David Fitzgerald has been mistaken for the Wexford manager, and his namesake, on occasion.

The Clare man says it will be strange lining out opposite his former mentor this weekend but added that they are ''are playing Wexford, you are not playing against him.''

Clare make the trip to Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday when they clash with Wexford aiming for a first Croke Park appearance since they claimed the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2013.

The beaten Munster finalists still haven't won their provincial title since 1998 but are just two games away from another All-Ireland final appearance.

But first the Inagh-Kilnamona defender will have to help stem the flow to a ruthless Wexford attacking unit.

“Very occasionally (I have been mistaken for Davy), it has happened but not that often.

“Some lad texted me one day asking for a challenge match. I just said sorry wrong number. Stuff like that has happened,” said Fitzgerald.

“Davy does (have an insight) but when you look back, Paul Kinnerk was with him and he is with Limerick now.

“You could have said the same about Limerick.

“We were lucky to beat them. Regardless of who is over any team, it's about the players once you step inside the white line.

“It's something different alright. Davy was only with us two years ago. It will be unusual.

“But you are playing Wexford you are not playing against him. It's down to the players.”

Fitzgerald made his debut season with Clare in 2016, after he was brought in by the Wexford manager at the end of the previous campaign.

He has never played a Championship match with the Clare seniors in Croke Park but with the likes of John Conlon in inspiring form, Fitzgerald is confident he can put that right after this weekend.

“John has had some year. If Clare go far he is line for hurler of the year at the minute along with a few from other counties, probably Patrick Horgan and Seamus Harnedy,” said Fitzgerald.

“He has been massive for us throughout the year.

“Our ambition at the beginning of the year was to get back to Croke Park because the last team to play there was Ballyea.

“A few of the Ballyea lads, that's it since 2013.

“You have to earn the right to be there. We haven't done so over the past few seasons.

“We have to play well on Saturday and know that's going to be a huge challenge.

“Wexford are saying the same, if they get over us they are in Croke Park so it's definitely something we have to blot out and take this game as it comes.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Hurling and camogie