Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald has spoken out about the online abuse that himself and his father have been subjected to.
Fitzgerald’s local club Sixmilebridge sent a letter to the Clare Champion in recent days, calling on the GAA to do more to protect their employees, after the Wexford hurling manager’s father, Pat, was the target of online abuse.
The matter has been reported to the Gardai, but Fitzgerald told The Late Late Show that he and his father have struggled to deal with the level of abuse.
“To tell you the truth, it’s been tough.”
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“To tell you the truth, it’s been tough. Online bullying and certain things that would go on. It’s probably going on maybe four or five years. There’s pages and pages of abuse there and it isn’t nice.
“A few of them were glad to get rid of me out of Clare. And when I went, they said, ‘Oh sure he’s next to go, get rid of him as well.’ It didn’t stop.
“In my head before, when this was going on, I said to myself, ‘All the people in Clare want to get rid of you.’ But then I said to myself, ‘It’s only a bunch or a few people behind a keyboard who have an agenda.’
“If you see some of the stuff, it’s pretty out there. I’m glad my club came out with the letter and I’m so proud of them for doing it.
“The easiest thing for them to do would be to come out and say, ‘Davy, we support you.’ They didn’t, they went further than that,” Fitzgerald explained.
‘He’s taken such a battering’
The former Clare hurling manager characterised his father Pat as a strong figure, but admitted that the abuse had taken its toll on him.
“He’d never let you see that, he’d be too proud. There’d be certain things he’d be very strong on. He’s just taken such a battering that he wouldn’t be the exact same way. But, he’s a fighter, I know he’ll be okay,” Fitzgerald said.