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Published: 09:51 | 9/5/16

Fitzgerald reveals Kelly call

Davy Fitzgerald has revealed he was the one who decided that Tony Kelly should take the crucial stoppage time free that secured Clare their first Allianz Hurling League Division 1 title since 1978.

Waterford held a three-point advantage as the game headed towards stoppage time but Darach Honan struck for the Banner before Kelly scored twice to hand the title to Fitzgerald's men.

The first of Kelly's scores came from a free within his own half and speaking after the match, Fitzgerald admitted he instructed the Ballea man to take the shot.

"I’d have got killed if he didn’t score that point from the free because I changed the free-taker myself," Fitzgerald confirmed. I felt he was on fire, I felt that was one made for him and I asked him to hit it.

"I don’t know would the other selectors have killed me if it went wide. It was a call, he did it, great man for the big occasion and fair play to him."

Paying tribute to his players, Fitzgerald went on: "They all played their part. Like, you look at Austin Gleeson and David Fitzgerald out there – I thought the exhibition of fielding out there today was absolutely incredible but David Fitzgerald caught the last one for us that counted and get it off to Tony Kelly, which was immense.

“Delighted, delighted with our guys. I know Derek (McGrath) can’t be disappointed with his team because they gave an unreal contribution out there."

The two teams were criticised for their tactics during the drawn encounter, but they produced a high-quality game at Semple Stadium on Sunday and fans will be hoping for a similar game when they renew rivalry in the Munster SHC on June 5.

Fitzgerald has been impressed with Waterford this season and is anticipating a tough game next time out.

"I think they’re going to have a massive say this year, I really believe that.," he went on.

"Maybe I’m a bit biased because I was down there for three years and I absolutely loved my time down there. But I think they’re going to be tough.

"June 5…we’ve seen two unreal battles. God, what more is going to come on June 5? Because we know that they probably say to themselves ‘they beat us by a point. They’re not going to beat us the next day’. We’re going to say to ourselves ‘no matter what, we’re going to have to fight even harder.’ So it’s going to be crazy out there but I’m looking forward to it."

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