Legendary boss and All-Ireland winner Fitzgerald felt his Clare team proved they are the real deal on Sunday.
Fitzgerald said, “This is a good bunch. It might not be this year but it will come for them. They are the real deal. They will work very hard and they’re as honest as they come.”
Down Shows Tough Streak
Down showed great heart and huge commitment to come from five points behind and beat Derry by 2-17 to 1-15 in their Ulster Championship quarterfinal on Sunday according to their manager James McCartan.
He said, “Well obviously the second half was all very positive, in contrast to the first half. For the second period of the first half we were beaten out the gate.
“We were very porous and letting Derry score for fun and we tried to correct that at halftime. The fact that we kept them to five points in the second half gave us a chance of victory.
“We were not implementing the sweeper system the way we wanted to so we tried to tweak it and see how we would get on and, thank goodness, the balls dried up.
“We were four points down at the break and then they scored the first in the second so we were five down. To then win by five is a ten-point turnaround which shows a bit of character which is great.”
All-Ireland champions Donegal are next up for Down in the Ulster semifinal, as McCartan well knows.
He added, “Donegal don’t need me to build them up. It’s the All-Ireland champions going in against what people might consider a dangerous enough side on their day. If we can get it right than we can maybe mount a challenge.
“If we played Donegal ten times they would probably win nine. And maybe I’m being generous to ourselves.”
Kingdom Cruises to Easy Win
Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice was happy with his team’s emphatic 4-21 to 1-4 win over Waterford in the Munster SFC on Saturday night, less happy that selectors Mikey Sheehy and Diarmuid Murphy were forced to watch the game from the stands.
New guidelines mean only five officials can join the substitutes in the dug-out, and Sheehy and Murphy were again left out in the cold despite claims that GAA President Liam O’Neill had given his clearance for the pair to be there.
Fitzmaurice said, “We sought clarification before the game and were told that the Munster Council were seeking guidance from headquarters.
“Despite what Liam O’Neill said in the paper on Saturday, we didn’t seem to have the clearance for the two lads so we had Plan B ready. Otherwise it was another cold war on the sideline.
“I’d prefer to have my selectors on the sideline. There’s more subtlety to a conversation than through a dugout and over a wire. If Mikey Sheehy wants to say something to me it’s through Diarmuid Murphy to Cian O’Neill to me. That’s hardly right.”
Kildare Makes Leinster Semis
Johnny Doyle proved that age is no barrier to greatness with a six point haul as Kildare eased their way into the Leinster semifinals with a 0-19 to 1-12 win over Offaly at Croke Park on Saturday night.
Provincial champions Dublin are next up for the Lilywhites, and their former midfielder Dermot Earley believes Doyle is playing well enough right now to really worry Jim Gavin’s team.
“Johnny hasn’t missed a championship match for his club and county since 2000 and I think that’s an unbelievable stat; that he’s still able to keep going,” Earley told RTE.
“You saw two brilliant scores, one for the right with the right foot and 45 yards out and another from the left. He is still an unbelievable talent.”