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Hurling: Lough, stock & barrel .. Davy comes clean; FITZGERALD BRINGS GER TO BOOK.

Byline: By PAUL KEANE

FIERY Clare hurling goalkeeper Davy Fitzgerald has revealed a troubled relationship with the county's former manager Ger Loughnane in his official biography - Passion and Pride.

Fitzgerald (34) has criticised Loughnane for his often harsh analysis of the Clare hurlers in recent years, in print and on television.

Fitzgerald has huge respect for what Loughnane achieved with the Banner County, he guided them to All-Ireland glory in 1995 and 1997, but he is upset by Loughnane's criticism of current boss Anthony Daly and his players in recent years.

In his hard-hitting book, Fitzgerald writes: "I like honourable people in the GAA but Ger Loughnane has lost a lot of respect in Clare over the past few years for comments that he made about the county team in his newspaper column and on TV.

"There will only ever be one Ger Loughnane, he brought us two All-Ireland titles and I had incredible respect for the man.

"However, in recent years he has turned against us and I just wish he wouldn't go in so hard. His criticism has not inspired us, in fact it's done the complete opposite - it has hurt us.

"Loughnane openly criticises the county board and the make-up of Anthony Daly's backroom team, but Ger is speaking from a pedestal that he has built for himself.

"If Ger has so much to say, why isn't he in the thick of it with us, helping us out?

"Before my story was published, some people advised me that I might be better off not mentioning Loughnane at all, but I am fiercely loyal to my team-mates," the Sixmilebridge goalkeeper continued.

"I've seen them train and the sacrifices they make so I hate to see them cut down.

"Ger Loughnane should not, under any circumstances, criticise Clare hurlers who give their all, just to entertain the rest of the country and to make a few quid for himself.

"When Ger was with us, I knew what he thought of other teams we faced in Championship hurling: very, very little. His philosophy was simple, Clare were number one and the rest were nobodies. So now, when he sticks the boot in, it smacks of hypocrisy."

Loughnane wasn't present last Monday night when Fitzgerald launched his book at the West County Hotel in Ennis.

Fitzgerald and ghost writer Jackie Cahill, GAA correspondent with the Irish Daily Mirror, were staggered when over 1,500 people turned up for the official launch of the book which is sponsored by Martin Donnelly.

Fitzgerald is one of the most flamboyant and recognisable keepers that the game of hurling has ever seen.

Since making his Championship debut for Clare in 1990, he has won every possible honour during the course of a colourful career.

Fitzgerald was instrumental in Clare's emergence from the hurling wilderness, as a special group of players became the most potent force in the country during the mid-90s.

In this honest and often emotional biography, Fitzgerald chronicles the joys and despair in his life. He details the breakdown of his marriage, and the resulting abuse he has suffered at the hands of terrace yobs ever since.

Fitzgerald revealed that Cork supporters started the barracking during the Munster semi-final in 1998 and, as it got worse, he even considered quitting the game completely.

Fitzgerald also details his relationship with various managers down through the years, most notably Loughnane. He lifts the lid on the major controversies that have punctuated a successful career and outlines how he feels hard done by not to have won All-Star awards in 1997 and 99.

Love him or hate him, Fitzgerald is a remarkable figure and his story makes riveting reading. He doesn't spare Loughnane either and says that he made "a big mistake" in 1998 when he met with GAA officials to agree a replay against Offaly after referee Jimmy Cooney had blown up early in the second game between the two sides.

PASSION and Pride - the Official Biography of Davy Fitzgerald with Jackie Cahill, is out now. Published by Blackwater Press, priced A14.99. The Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland will receive royalties from the sale of this book.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 22, 2005
Words:693
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