A summer of golf and getting fit, but Davy Fitz is delighted to be back hurling
For almost 30 years now, Davy Fitzgerald has been flat to the mat on the GAA's non-stop treadmill.
Doing it for Clare, doing it for Sixmilebridge. Doing it as a player and now as a manager. It's consumed him since he was young, inspired him for as long as he can remember and before the summer of 2020, he can barely remember a day without it.
So the early stages of this summer were strange for the inimitable Clareman. No training to rush to, no matches to plan for. What do we do now? As a man with five stents in, the chance to take stock was certainly no harm and Fitzgerald put his spare time to good use, getting fit and attempting to lower his golfing handicap.
"I Got myself in a bit better health. I have a nice bit of weight lost that I want to try and keep off. I feel way better, more energetic," he says at EirGrid's Official Timing Sponsorship launch.
"I did a lot of walking. I watched my calories big time. I got back on the bike cycling. Did a small bit of running, even in the last week or two there were a few times when I just threw down my phone and didn't bother with it, I wouldn't have done that before and I don't think that's any harm," he added.
Monday is Davy Fitzgerald appreciation day 🧎♂️
Here's the legendary Clare man, crossing the Cooley mountains in Louth at the 1999 All-Ireland Poc Fada ⛰️
The Puma Kings, the old tracksuit, the small man with the big heart 👑 pic.twitter.com/2XOF57jJWB
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) March 16, 2020
A change is as good as a rest and the talented single-figure handicap golfer was delighted to get back on the course in Dromoland Castle.
"I can remember when the restriction was lifted with the 5k and I really wanted to play golf. I think I was about 12 or 13k from it and I thought about it and I rang Dromoland and said I might come up and play but I changed my mind and I held tough on it until they brought in the regulations which allowed us to play.
"But did I enjoy getting out and hitting the small ball around too. It was great. I got to play with my friends again that time wouldn't have allowed me before and really enjoyed it. It was nice to get out there and I appreciated walking around with them, having the craic, breathing the air in, it was just great..."
But still, the hurling never strayed too far and that's how he wanted it. Those thoughts of a year without the game he loves were torturous and to get back training his own club Sixmilebridge was a gift, to win the championship with them even better.
Sixmilebridge coach Davy Fitzgerald celebrates with his players after they won the Clare SHC title 🏑 pic.twitter.com/d9Em9rXQL0
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) September 28, 2020
From there, he looks forward to targeting an All-Ireland with Wexford. But first, looks back on the hurling that hasn't happened, the Allianz League that wasn't finished, the Munster club that had been ruled out.
"I do not agree with what they’ve done with the National League. I don’t agree with it. We're still in the National League, we lost one game, we're in the quarter-final and we're there on merit. The same as Galway are, I think Kilkenny and Waterford and there. I just think it was premature to do what they did and I don't think it's the right call. That's my honest opinion. I don't think you can just pick two teams and throw them into a League final..."
"The Munster Club, yeah if they get space in January and February, to run the Munster Club would probably take three weekends to run off. If they can do it, I do think every club would appreciate the chance. It’s a long-standing tradition..."
Alas, the hurling has taken over again.
"I find the last few weeks, since I'm up and down to Wexford maybe, I feel I'm rushing around, I don't have as much time as I did but I've got to make it. I'm very aware of it!"
But that's Davy Fitz, hurling mad and unapologetic about it. Love him or hate him, you have to respect him and the molten passion he brings.