1. Pre-season training was no fun
Davy Fitzgerald’s objectives were clear when he took over with the Banner. ‘I came into the job when Clare were probably ranked 9th or 10th. My main objective was to get Clare back into the top four.”
That required some work. “There’s no other way about training, you have to do the work. There’s no shortcuts.”
“Lads coming back cold, legs in bits. It was not an enjoyable few days”, was Podge Collins verdict on one training camp.
“Davy’s trying to break you bringing you to the middle of the forest at seven in the morning”, says Shane O’Donnell.
2. Particularly for Tony Kelly doing running sessions at 5am
“I got some shock when I went in training for the first week. I remember the first training session I went to, after the warm-up, I thought I was going to get sick”.
3. The reaction to the Munster quarter-final win over Waterford was a concern
“There was a lot of euphoria around and the place went a bit too mad I thought for winning one match”, says selector Mike Deegan. “When people look back at it, we didn’t play that well”.
4. Davy reckons the Munster semi-final loss to Cork turned their year
“In hindsight maybe it was one of the best things that happened to us. In hindsight it’s the reason I believe we’re 2013 All-Ireland champions.”
5. The famous Mi-Wadi and biscuits meeting in Davy’s house wasn’t expected
“We were all expecting some meeting but at his house, I was kind of surprised for it to be there”, remembers Shane O’Donnell.
6. A supporter wasn’t happy with Davy during the Laois match in Ennis
“A fella stood up behind me and roared with venom, ‘Fitzgerald you haven’t a clue. You’re ruining Clare hurling’. Roaring at me.
“Now there’s very little you can do about something like that. But this was only two minutes into a game. I remember thinking to myself ‘What a clown’. Fellas like that, my only message would be ‘Stop being selfish, support the team’.
7. Davy’s proclamation before extra-time against Wexford surprised Tony Kelly
“Davy stood up and said if we win this game, ‘We’ll win the All-Ireland’. I looked around at Colm Galvin and was thinking, ‘What’s this fella on about? We’re struggling to beat Wexford’.
8. Podge Collins on THAT handpass against Galway
“I don’t know where my mind was at. That backwards handpass was a bit flamboyant. If it had gone over the sideline, I could have been taken off, it could have been the end of my year”.
9. The Galway win was dedicated to Cathal McInerney after his grandfather had passed away
10. Watching Limerick win the Munster title provided plenty motivation
“I was so, so envious of those Limerick guys”, says Brendan Bugler.
“You’re getting a text off Brendan Bugler saying ‘lads how jealous are ye right now’. It’s something you dream of. But listen we might get our chance against these guys”, says Conor Ryan.
11. There’s still amazement that Domhnall O’Donovan hit a point
Tony Kelly: “If you could pick any fella on the panel, one to thirty-four, Dunny would be 34. You’d nearly bring on Davy to hit the leveller.”
Davy Fitzgerald: “How he arrived up there? I’ve no idea. But by Jesus, I’m glad he did”.
Domhnall O’Donovan: “I was as surprised as anyone else that it went over”.
12. The case to start Shane O’Donnell in the replay
Paul Kinnerk (selector): “He left us with no other option but to pick him”.
Shane O’Donnell. “We were in St Pat’s and Davy called me aside. I was a small bit nervous but so excited to start.”
Shane O’Donnell: “How did I find it? Pretty good I suppose. The greatest moment of my life with all my friends out on the pitch”.
13. They sang to Marty Morrissey after the replay in Croke Park
14. And they didn’t forget one of their supporters in the celebrations in Cratloe
‘Behind The Banner’ is the official behind-the-scenes story of Clare hurling’s 2013 All-Ireland triumph. It is available for purchase at the Clare supporters shop on O’Connell Street in Ennis.
– First published 16.56