Davy Fitzgerald will never forget the year 2005, when Tipperary’s Eoin Kelly inspired his LIT team to Fitzgibbon Cup glory.
The talent was one thing, the Mullinahone man struck and still strikes that ball like a lightning rod, but it was the desire and the selflessness that Davy remembers best. That desire and selflessness and sheer will-to-win is the reason the Clare-man head-hunted Kelly when he became the Waterford manager.
Because he wanted him for company in the trenches.
“Peter Queally, I was very lucky to get him,” Fitzgerald told us today, at the launch of Londis Ireland’s Fittest Family season ten.
“I worked with him before. His record with club teams in Waterford is incredible and he has trained outside it. To get him was great, and then to get Eoin Kelly,” said Fitzgerald.
“Eoin Kelly was my captain in LIT when we won our first Fitzgibbon. I know from that and playing against him what Eoin brings. Eoin as a player was one of the best I have ever come across. His talent was incredible but his commitment to the team, his desire to win… he’s a winner. Eoin Kelly is a winner.”
"And it just went from there."
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Fitzgerald did admit that, being a Tipperary man, Kelly did take some convincing to join a rival county but as you’d expect, the Clare man put forward a compelling argument.
“I know Eoin is Tipp to the core but as I said to him ‘I’m a massive Clare man’.
“People will say ‘Davy, you have been in Waterford, Wexford’. Yeah but I played for Clare for 18 years, Eoin played for 15, 16. He was involved in the backroom. He has over 20 years given to Tipp at the top level. I have over 20 years. But that doesn’t mean we should sit on the shelf and do nothing. If the opportunity arises, why not be in the ball game?
“I think we have given so much to our counties. A time might come where you give it again. But I’m delighted to have a man of his vision and talent coming on board with us. I think a lot of these Waterford lads will appreciate what Eoin Kelly brings to the table form a player point of view.”
Meanwhile, in a further development, the Irish Examiner has it that Fitzgerald has gone onto recruit his fellow Ireland’s Fittest Family coach Donncha O’Callaghan as a performance coach.
Having played professional rugby for 20 years, O’Callaghan has gone onto work in the media as a radio host on RTE 2fm and as a rugby pundit on BT Sport. The 43-year-old joins Fitzgerald, Kelly, Queally and Dubliner S and C coach John Matthews on the Waterford management team.
Davy Fitzgerald pictured in front one of Ireland’s Fittest Families’ renowned ‘ten foot walls.’ It’s this wall and the speed they clear it that makes or breaks some families’ dreams. Londis will sponsor RTÉ’s hit TV show for a fourth year in a row, which returns to our screens on Sunday 2nd October for a tenth season.