With emotions still running high, Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald cut a lonely figure as he tried to reflect on the end of his side’s championship run, having lost by three points to his native Clare after a classic of qualification.
Walking away from the action that had taken place on the green lawn of Semple Stadium, Fitzgerald retaliated against those who allegedly spread lies about him and his family, describing it as “utter and utter disgrace”.
In an emotional outburst, Fitzgerald said the past year had been “the most difficult” he had ever known in the GAA.
“That’s how I felt this week, I didn’t even know if I wanted to be in this game, to tell you the truth,” he said.
“The way my family and I were treated is an absolute and utter disgrace.”
He accused the local media, whose behavior he called “absolutely disgusting”, as well as one or two clubs in the county, of seeking to drag Clare to a place where “we don’t need to be”.
He called on everyone involved in Clare GAA to work together, adding that he was more than willing to sit down with Brian Lohan to end their feud.
“I’ll tell you like this – in Clare the biggest problem we have is a small bunch of people creating problems. They think they are helping, and they are not.
“My father (County Board Secretary Pat Fitzgerald), of whom I am extremely proud, did an incredible job. The amount of abuse, baton and criticism he suffered, unwarranted, is not justified.
“Can I tell people, people have siblings, moms and dads. People have people who genuinely care about them and what the media people in Clare have been doing is absolutely disgusting. What people on social media have done is disgusting.
“What one or two people, one or two clubs did, instead of looking at each other and how they can improve their teams, they tried to get us to a place where we don’t need to be.”
Reflecting on his feud with former teammate Brian Lohan, Fitzgerald said, “For Clare’s sake, 110% if someone had a meeting between me and Brian Lohan in the morning, I would.
“I might not like Brian Lohan and I might not have a lot of time for him and the way he does things. He would have the same for me. But we shouldn’t be against each other in Clare. If Clare is to be successful, they must all be together.
“And I’m saying it right now, would I put him to bed?” I would get up in the morning and go talk to anyone, shake hands and put them to bed. I don’t want Clare to argue.
“We have to take a close look at Clare and stop this. “
Fitzgerald said the County Clare Board of Directors were an easy target to blame after the miners were hammered 40 points in Cork at the Munster Championship last week.
“I can see people who can get on keyboards and do stuff, have they ever been on the pitch, have they ever worked with their clubs, have they ever done stuff? We have to master Clare and we have to work together.
“99% of the people in Clare are amazing people. The clubs in Clare are amazing. The few people who are causing trouble, stop. Stop and work together.
“I can tell you that my family will absolutely support Clare until the end. When I was a young boy growing up watching Fr. Harry’s (Bohan) teams in the late 70’s, I adored and idolized them.
“My dream was to play for Clare and all I ever wanted to do was play for my own county. I loved them with all my heart.
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore, but there are lies and things that were said at the start of the year and my family and I are very upset. All of this will be coming home to roost very soon.