DAVY FITZGERALD put John Mullane's over-zealous post match celebrations down to a case of mixed messages after his Clare team failed achingly to end their Munster drought against his old Waterford charges in Thurles.
The Déise held firm to win by 2-17 to 1-18 after a frenetic finish which saw goal chances at either end in injury-time and concluded with Clare 'keeper Patrick Kelly coming up to shoot for goal from a close-range free, a shot which was saved.
Afterwards, Mullane ran to his former manager to celebrate but Fitzgerald himself suspected the player has been fed false information about being written off as over the hill during the week.
"I think John Mullane was told something that was untrue," said Davy, "Listen, let me say this 100 per cent on the record - John Mullane is one of the best players I've ever seen and has another two or three years in him big-time if he wants.
"Sometimes people tell players things to get them riled up and to perform in a game. I have a lot of respect for those guys."
In the Ulster SFC, Donegal kept their bid to win back-to-back provincial crowns from the preliminary round on course with an impressive show of strength and 2-13 to 0-9 win over Derry in Ballybofey on Saturday night.
Goals from Leo McLoone and Colm McFadden brushed Derry aside and afterwards, Oakleaf manager, John Brennan was at a loss to explain his team's wretched performance.
"We have trained, the players have talked, we had conditioning weekends, we had everything," he said.
"There is no better talent in Derry.
"I haven't been told of any better than we have assembled there. I'm unhappy for Derry and Derry players."