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Fear of the unknown keeps driving on Wexford manager Fitzgerald

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Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Sportsfile

Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Sportsfile

One of these days, Davy Fitzgerald will relent and cut himself off. But after an association with intercounty hurling that has spanned 30 years over four decades, he doesn't know much else.

Even last winter, there was an internal battle and he still doesn't know which side of him won. He told himself he had put his time with Wexford in the rearview mirror. And just when he thought he was ready to walk away last winter, something pulled him back in.

Perhaps it was the fear of the unknown. If he wasn't involved in hurling, what else would he do?

"One hundred per cent," he replied when asked if there was a fear about what life would be like when he does eventually take a year out.

"To tell you honestly, I'm building up one or two things. I'm not a person who could do nothing. I love thinking of different things whether it's Fittest Family - I've another programme or two that's coming. It's going to happen. Whether it's sooner rather than later I don't know. It could be.

"I do fear leaving it, not being there. Because I'll miss it. But it will happen. I tentatively have one or two things and you have to be ready. Sometimes when players finish at intercounty level I often worry about them, that they've been working at such a high level, such an intensity, do we just forget about them then They go from a certain way of life for maybe eight or nine or 10 years, and then nothing. It's a big void.

"When you're in that thing all the time, operating under pressure, and then you've nothing. That's going from a fair high down to a fair low.

Delighted

"I'm trying to prepare myself with two or three different projects in case that day comes. Because you don't know in this game. The longevity, I'm delighted I got to play 18 or 19 years for Clare. Delighted I'm in top level management for 12 and a bit years. It doesn't happen where you get that type of run so I've been really fortunate, really lucky. I'm still only 48 - with five stents. But I'm hanging in there."

Fitzgerald was Slaneyside yesterday to mark the official launch of the county grounds being rebranded as Chadwicks Wexford Park. After his media commitments he was headed to Sixmilebridge to train his club. Even the morning after his wedding last year, with the county semi-final coming into view, he took the club for a session.

Between the various teams, driving and planning, keeping all the plates spinning takes it toll. The five stents came about after he had heart surgery in 2016. It's not an issue for him now but it has brought about a change of habit.

"Between the highs and the lows, when you get to there it's very important that you bring yourself back down. So after most games I won't go out, no matter what the story is. I'll go up and I'll watch TV in order to bring myself (down), to be level. I would be very calm most of the time. I love thinking stuff out, I love going over and over stuff. I love having my own free time too, going for a walk, going to the cinema, whatever.

"You like having your own free time as well which is great. But I think it's important that when you get to them highs, bring yourself down, bring yourself back to where you are. I think that's important. I live out in the middle of no place and I love it."

He rails against the idea that the surgery is a result of his high octane personality on the sideline. It is, he points out, a genetic predisposition. Were he a different personality, he might have walked away. But if hurling is your life, then how do you live without it?

"The physical thing, the five stents - I've people saying to me 'it's down to the way you are on the sideline'. Unfortunately, my mam's side, like she's lost a lot of brothers young. It's in the genes. I keep saying to her, 'f**k ma, I got your genes'. That's it.

"Everyone says they think of me like my da or whatever - I'm kinda like my mam. Because she's fiery. You should see her playing cards, if you're playing with her, I'd be playing every Thursday with her the last number of years, which I enjoy more than anything.

"It's just unfortunate, her family, there is massive heart disease in it. Might it be easier for me not to be involved? But is that living. I'll convince myself that I'll live to whatever age - whether it happens or not I don't know. But I like doing what I do.

"And I think it's important that you live your life in a way that you're happy with. There is no point being afraid to do stuff. If you're afraid to do stuff, I don't know, are you really living?"