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Reflective Davy mulls future

DAVY Fitzgerald's losing post-match briefings are weird. Generally, they follow the same pattern, and yesterday's address to the waiting media was no different.

In he walks, dejected but defiant. The awkward silence before the first question afforded to losing managers is cut short by a snappy demand for that elusive ice-breaking query.

And after the initial curt analysis of the game, Davy gets all loose-tongued and reflective.

Tipp were the better team, no question. His players departed from the formula which secured them a Munster title just enough to give Tipperary the scope to run riot in attack.

Then, the hard stuff begins. Eventually, someone asks about his future.

"I don't know," he replies. "My two years are up. I haven't a clue what's going to happen. We've had a great three years, we've won a lot of championship games, I think it goes into double figures but I don't know, we'll sit down and talk."

Unprompted, Fitzgerald approaches the subject of player unrest. Strong rumour had it that some of the heroes of the past decade were dissatisfied with the extent of their involvement over the past two years.

Interestingly, Eoin Kelly appeared to bark something in Fitzgerald's direction as he departed the fray following his 51st minute substitution.

"There are some who probably won't be happy that they didn't see enough game time," admitted the Clareman. "I have a job to do, to pick the best Waterford team I could and I'll make no apologies to anyone for that.

"Trust me, you'll have lads who are disappointed but I wanted to win as much as any of them, and I picked what I thought (was) the best team for the day. You'll have a lot of geniuses who'll tell you we should have done X, Y and Z today, but that's the way it goes."

Reflecting favourably on his tenure, Fitzgerald seemed like a man who had walked his last line for Waterford. If indeed he is to be Clare's next manager, though, he will have to bide his time.

"In 2008 they didn't think they'd be going back for another Munster title," Fitzgerald said.

"For a team that were a spent force, that weren't in the top four, we've done alright. They're there every year since I came in and that's not too bad. I still believe this team can go on . . . there's a great team spirit there and serious leaders, but they've got to learn from that today. Whether I'll be with them, I just don't know."

And, with that, he left our clutches for the final time this season and perhaps his last as Waterford manager -- yet no one had even an iota of doubt that one way or another, he'll be back.