Davy Fitz wants nothing more than to see crowds back at GAA games
Nowlan Park is a lovely place to go.
The pitch itself, is one of the finest in the country, the stewards and Kilkenny county board personnel are so welcoming that they're handing you out snack bars and bottles of Energise before the game and on a day like Sunday, with the sun shining and the grass glowing, the only thing that was missing was a bit of noise from the stands.
Davy Fitzgerald feels it too.
Watching the news on Saturday night, the Clare-man noticed a Longford supporter taking it all in up north during their county's clash with Fermanagh and when it can be done safely, Fitzgerald wonders why the approach is so cautious down here that it was only players, managements, reporters and stewards around him in the wide open spaces of Kilkenny city. When you look around you to see dilapidated stands, you can see exactly where he's coming from.
As things stand, GAA games in the republic will be allowed to host 100 spectators by June 7 with that number to increase to 200 and eventually 500 across July and August. The general consensus is that, much like our reaction to this whole thing in general, it's much too slow and delayed.
“I just want to see a few people getting into games," says Fitzgerald.
"As far as I’m aware there’s very little transmission out in the open. We have massive stadiums and if we can do it smartly – I was looking at the news last night and saw a Longford supporter going to a match and how much it meant to him just to go to the game and see it."
"Long after the last ball was pucked, Eoin Murphy was in the middle of it among Kilkenny's used and unused subs, as they ran ran shuttles up and down Nowlan Park."https://t.co/FqGj9igC06
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) May 30, 2021
“This place is well capable of taking 20,000-plus. Surely we can be smart and get people out. I’m not saying that we can be right back but I really think there’s a case that in these type of grounds we can get people in – we need the supporters. It’s great for us to play but we need the supporters 110 per cent.”
As for the Covid fiasco which stalked Wexford in the build-up to this game, Fitzgerald is keen to move on and says that he has always been one to let the powers-that-be take care of their jobs.
"Listen, as we’ve said in Wexford, the HSE do their job; we do ours. We’ve no excuses here in Wexford. We went out and we played today and you know what, it’s important we stick to hurling and not side issues, that’s all I’ll say. That’s all I’m interested in and the Wexford lads are interested in. Nothing else. At the end of the day we’re here to play hurling and we got well beaten today.
"And we take our beating gracefully. We know the better team won; we’ve no excuses. That’s the way it is. Any other sideshows, we’ve no interest. We’ll just do the hurling side of things and let other professionals do what they’re good at doing."
See ya again soon bud pic.twitter.com/PalWmEJTv2
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) May 30, 2021
His Wexford team looked sluggish out there, but Fitzgerald is taking the positives from their second half showing which gives him hope building up to the championship next month.
"Flat is putting it mildly, when you're down by 14 points at half-time, it isn't a nice place to be inside there, especially when you're playing Kilkenny at home but I'm extremely proud of the lads, they fought hard. I think we won the second half by four, missed a goal and a few bad wides. I thought we held our own in the second half. First half, I would be disappointed in the the two goals we gave up, but that's the name of the game. Hopefully we'll be able to rectify that.
"But I thought Kilkenny were awesome today. This is a completely different style of hurling for Kilkenny compared to what they were doing even ten years ago, moving the ball a bit shorter. But to me, hurling is great that you can do every sort of skill, and they've come a long way in the last while. It'll be a very interesting summer and trust me, Kilkenny will be right up there."