Davy Fitzgerald speaks candidly about gaining perspective on the important things in life

Clare begin their League campaign against Offaly tomorrow

Davy Fitzgerald speaks candidly about gaining perspective on the important things in life

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

To the outsiders, Davy Fitzgerald cuts the figure of an unruly character who is constantly remonstrating on the sideline.

Indeed, Fitzgerald is no delicate flower. In his playing days, he charged at Brian Cody before a game against Kilkenny and, his own words, "gave it to him". As a manager, his uncompromising passion has surfaced on occasion.

But behind that manic veneer, the humane qualities are there in plentiful supply.

Fitzgerald claims that if the camera lens was fixed on his sideline antics for the 70 minute duration, people would discover a different beast, one who simply observes the game and teases out tactics like every other coach.

And when it comes to appreciating the importance of perspective, the two-time All-Ireland winning goalkeeper needs no intercession.

Clare will open their League campaign against Offaly tomorrow and undoubtedly, Fitzgerald has been mobilising his troops with the same meticulous attention that he always gives to the job. But recently, he took a pause to pay his respects to the father of one of his teammates Fergie Touhy, from the All-Ireland winning team of 1995.

And in an interview with Keith Duggan of the Irish Times, this is how Fitzgerald summed up the sorrowful occasion.

''That’s a guy I played with and his dad would have supported us for years. When times seem bad, it gives you a little shot to realise what it’s actually about. You will always have the ’95 or ’97 team.''

''They were super times back then and I’d admire so many of them. As Fergie always reminds me he scored five points in the final and he was a massive part of that team. So it is important you just be there, in a small way, at times like this. To me the most important thing in life is life.''

And after the funeral, Davy Fitzgerald battled a biting wind to conduct a training session. Life moves on but distinguishing between the significant and the trivial, is always at the forefront.

''I love hurling. But there are more important things in life. Your family and your health. Hurling is . . . it is fun and enjoyment and it gets you excited. I think we all need something. It doesn’t have to be hurling. Whether it is that game of cards or going out for that walk. It’s important to get out and do stuff and get involved. But you realise there’s more important things in life than hurling.''