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Davy's side secures PR guru to help team with image

AFTER claims of humiliating players the embattled Clare hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald and his team have secured the services of a PR guru to help with their image.

The Clare County Board sought a meeting with public relations guru Mark Dunphy who released a media statement on behalf of the senior hurling management and team. Mr Dunphy has also been promoting the Clare Hurlers Charity Crossbar Challenge.

The Clare hurling management has received some negative press in recent months leading to speculation that they had turned to the public relations expert to help with media interactions.

However, a member of the county board insisted it has not hired a PR guru despite seeking the advice of the media expert.

Mr Dunphy told the Herald he had carried out the work on a voluntary basis. He met with Clare County Board chairman Michael McDonagh and county secretary Pat Fitzgerald in recent weeks and confirmed that he advised the pair on output to media regarding statements.

"Basically, I was contacted by the chairman, it's a matter for them as to why they brought me in," he said.

Mr Dunphy said he had helped the county board "in a voluntary capacity" adding: "I'm a Clare GAA fan".

"I wanted to show how it's done," he added.

Mr Dunphy said it was a decision for the Clare County Board as to whether he would be carrying out any further PR for them.

Clare secretary Pat Fitzgerald, father of hurling manager Davy, said Mr Dunphy had given some advice to the board.

"We have not hired any PR expert. We couldn't afford anything like that. Not at all, he gave advice to some people on the board but we don't have money for that sort of thing," he added.

Clare has found itself under fire recently after a number of players quit the panel after they refused to accept what they claimed was unfair disciplinary action.

Nicky O'Connell and Davy O'Halloran left the panel back in March after what O'Halloran described as humiliating treatment. While O'Connell returned to the squad, O'Halloran joined the football side instead.

Fitzgerald has also faced his own woes with debts of €40,000 relating to his pub, the Bellsfort Inn. In February 2014, a €35,912 judgement was registered by Clare County Council against him, believed to relate to the non-payment of local authority rates.

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) also secured €4,490 judgement in September 2011 in relation to the pub.