The news that has reverberated around the GAA world for the last week that Kilkenny legend Henry Shefflin is the new Galway manager has finally begun to resonate across the country.
One man who has certainly come to terms with Sheffllin getting the top job in Galway is Davy Fitzgerald
The former Waterford, Clare and Wexford manager was believed to have been on the brink of being appointed as Shane O’Neill’s replacement, but was eventually overlooked in favour of 10-time All-Ireland winner Shefflin.
Despite being denied the chance to lead Galway in 2022, Fitzgerald holds no grudges against Shefflin or the Galway county board.
“They rang me for the chat. I talked to them, we had one or two chats, and it just didn’t work out,” Fitzgerald reflected.
“They decided to go with Henry, and that’s it. I’m driving on. I’ve a lot of things to look forward to, and that’s it. It’s very simple for me. It was probably made a lot more out of than it needed to be. But all I can do is wish Galway and Henry the very best of luck.
“Henry got the job at the end of the day. He’d won an All-Ireland club with Ballyhale and was an unbelievable player. This is probably a lot different but I think he’ll do really well. I wish him nothing but the best, there’s no animosity here towards Henry from my side without a shadow of a doubt. I only wish him the best.
“I think it’s the natural progression for him. Trust me, being on the pitch is the most important thing. God, I’d give anything to go back playing. Second to that is being on the sideline, third is it’s nice to be a pundit and be on the telly, ’tis grand. That’s probably the order. Henry saw this as an opportunity and he’d be mad not to take it.
“I know they might have said ‘would you not wait for Kilkenny’, but Brian Cody is doing a pretty good job I think. He’s won Leinster again, he’s doing pretty well. You can’t just get rid of someone that’s doing OK so why not let Henry go and do something different?”
A 2013 All-Ireland winning manager with his native county Clare, Fitzgerald elaborated on the reasons why Shefflin has decided that now is the right time to become an intercounty manager.
“Henry is doing this because he loves hurling and he wants to challenge himself to be better,” he said.
“I think Henry is right to go and do this. He has a very talented team that will be there or thereabouts.
“If you see the amount of Clare players that come and shake my hand after games, it’s incredible. The amount of Kilkenny fellas that will have respect for Henry and know what he has done… They don’t expect Henry to sit on his behind and wait for years [until Brian Cody steps down]. Why should he if he can be involved and do something?
“Is it harder when you come across your own county? Of course. I’m a Clare-man, I loved playing for Clare. But you have a job to do for the day and you do it.
“After that, I’m sure Henry will be shouting for Kilkenny, no matter who they’re playing apart from Galway.”
Whatever may come to pass regarding Fitzgerald’s future in intercounty management, the 2022 season is already looking like it could be filled with drama, even without one of the most dramatic figures in the game in Fitzgerald no longer playing a leading role.