Fitzgerald 'victim of mysterious phone calls'

Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald has revealed that he was the target of a series of late night telephone calls, following his side's disastrous Munster final display.

The 7-19 to 0-19 hammering by Tipperary left Fitzgerald and his players wide open to a tirade of criticism and the Clare native took the brunt of it.

The final whistle in yesterday's All-Ireland SHC quarter-final win over Galway saw Fitzgerald overcome with emotion as weeks of stress drained from him.

He hailed the efforts of his players in toppling the Tribesmen, with the encouraging result giving him the chance to reflect on a tough two-week build-up.

"I've a great thing about life, you never give up on anything no matter what the story is," he said afterwards.

"You fight, you fight, you fight and keep fighting even when things are bad. I'm really proud of the boys so I am.

"All of them mysterious calls in the middle of the night I enjoy them, keep them coming!

"I'm not going into it, they are not worth even talking to. They can keep ringing, that's all I'll say to you."

Fitzgerald was determined that one bad performance would not derail the Déise's Championship challenge. Many wondered if they had it in time to recover from such a loss, but their manager knew they would.

"There are people close to me who doubted me and gave me stick. I never doubt myself and the most important thing is that I never doubted the lads.

"I'd stand on my head for them boys, they train and work hard and that's important. I'm just happy for them.

"It was nothing to do with me, it was the boys who went out on the field and did the business. They played with heart and courage and hats off to them."

Fitzgerald has now guided Waterford through to four successive All-Ireland semi-finals, with Kilkenny and Tipperary the only teams to have beaten them in Championship hurling since he took over in 2008.

Players like Michael 'Brick' Walsh, Pauric Mahony, Kevin Moran and Shane Walsh came to the fore during yesterday's 2-23 to 2-13 triumph over Galway.

Waterford were a wounded animal after their mauling in the provincial decider, and they came out fighting with a first minute goal from Shane Walsh.

1-9 to 1-7 ahead at half-time, they kicked on in the second half despite hitting a number of bad wides. Galway could not get out of second gear and Thomas Ryan's late goal was the final blow of a rousing performance from Fitzgerald's side.

"I think a big statement was that there was no point in hiding away from what happened us in Cork," added the former goalkeeper.

"You can do two things - you can go out and take a few pints and forget about it or you can go home and live through the hurt.

"I chose that option. I think it's very important. You have to have the hurt. They went out today and they gave it everything.

"No matter what happens I am just so proud of the boys. To get a knock like we did two weeks ago and to come back from it like we did is massive.

"Galway are no bad team. I think they were odds on favourites today. The question is what are we going to do after this?

"Are we going to clap ourselves on the back or are we going to come out fighting again the next day.

"We are probably playing one of the best teams (Kilkenny) that is out there and it doesn't get any harder."

The semi-final clash on Sunday, August 7 is a repeat of the 2009 encounter. Henry Shefflin's haul of 1-14 was decisive back then as the Cats pulled off a 2-23 to 3-15 win.

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