Davy Fitzgerald is back as manager of inter-county hurling, returning to Waterford where a deal has been agreed for a two-year term with an option to extend it for a third year.
itzgerald resigned as manager of Wexford hurling 12 months ago and spent the last year as coach of Cork’s camogie team, after being strongly considered for the Galway managerial job before the appointment of Henry Shefflin last October.
Fitzgerald, who stepped down as manager of Waterford after three and a half years in charge in 2011, will succeed Liam Cahill.
Cahill was Waterford manager for three years but has returned to his home county in recent weeks following the departure of Colm Bonnar to Tipperary.
Fitzgerald’s appointment is sure to divide opinion at Waterford, but his shooting squad record early in his reign is impressive and in three years at Waterford, Clare and Wexford he had won at least one provincial title or in the case of Clare, an All-Ireland.
He was the recommendation of a four-man committee, County Board Chairman Sean Michael O’Regan, Secretary Pat Flynn, Nemeton TV CEO Irial Mac Murchú and former Waterford captain Fergal Hartley, and in line with appointments in Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny, they acted quickly, gaining approval from a county council meeting this evening.
It comes as Liam Sheedy and Eamonn O’Shea are linked with Offaly’s vacant pitching job.
In a surprise move, reported by the Irish Mirror, Offaly GAA are said to be keen to reunite Sheedy and O’Shea, manager and trainer when Tipperary won the All-Ireland titles in 2010 and again in 2019.
Offaly will be a Joe McDonagh Cup team again in 2023, but there is promise there.
If he exits, the Sheedy/O’Shea ticket would replace Michael Fennelly, who left two weeks ago, but the suggestion is that Johnny Kelly, who worked with Fennelly, would stay.
Sheedy has worked with teams other than Tipperary before, most recently spending time as a performance coach with Monaghan Footballers for a year. He has also advised Antrim hurling in the past.
For Fitzgerald, the appointment signifies a 37th consecutive year of inter-county involvement which began as a Clare minor pitcher in 1987. He spent two more years as a minor before graduating to the senior team where he remained until 2007.
Midway through the 2008 season, Fitzgerald, then retired from playing, was appointed manager of Waterford when Justin McCarthy resigned after Munster SHC’s heavy loss to Clare.
Waterford reached an All-Ireland final and were again heavily beaten, this time by Kilkenny and although they won their last Munster title under Fitzgerald in 2010, he was gone by the end of 2011.
In 2012 he began a five-year spell in charge of his native Clare, during which they won an All-Ireland title in 2013 and a league in 2016.
But he moved on, quickly taking on the managerial role at Wexford with whom he won a first Leinster title in 15 years in 2019. Another five-year tenure ended there and this year he spent time as coach of Cork camogie, who lost the All-Ireland final to Kilkenny last Sunday.
Meanwhile, Offaly GAA has confirmed the appointment of Liam Kearns as Director of Football for a three-year term, subject to County Council ratification.
The County Management Committee has endorsed the former Limerick, Laois and Tipperary manager’s recommendation to replace John Maughan.
President Michael Duignan, Secretary Colm Cummins, Treasurer Dervill Dolan, Stephen Darby and Paul Rouse, himself a former temporary director, nominated Kearns.
He brings a wealth of experience to the job as Offaly seeks a return to Division Two.
Kearns spent four years as Tipperary manager between 2016 and 2019, making an All-Ireland semi-final in his first year.