Ger Fitzgerald knows Midleton hurlers must deliver this season

Ben O'Connor came in as coach in 2020 but club failed to progress from group stages
Ger Fitzgerald knows Midleton hurlers must deliver this season

Midleton's Ger Fitzgerald on the sideline at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THIRTY years on from leading Midleton to the 1991 county final win over Glen Rovers, Ger Fitzgerald is in his second season as manager of his beloved hometown club.

Fitzgerald, who was a central figure in all those great Midleton wins in that glorious period between 1983 and 1991, also won all the major honours on the field of play with Cork.

The trophy cabinet in the Fitzgerald household is a packed place with those two Celtic Crosses, three Munster medals and one National League medal to go alongside all the club honours.

Now he is hoping to continue in the legendary footsteps of his father Paddy, who was a player and manager of great distinction.

Paddy was part of the Cork 1966 All-Ireland winning team and went on to manage the Magpies to Munster and All- Ireland glory as well winning three county titles in 1986, 1987 and 1991.

Recalling those great days, Ger admits there were so many highlights, but that first county win in 1983 was very special.

“Yes, breaking new ground with that victory was a never to be forgotten experience. Further down the road the All-Ireland triumph was so memorable for the club and for us as a family. The significance of my father being manager made it an historic occasion”

GOALKEEPER

Interestingly, prior to that win in 1983, Ger was better known as a goalkeeper, having played all his underage hurling between the posts before moving outfield early in that campaign.

Now he is calling the shots from the sideline alongside coach Ben O’Connor and selectors Steve Kane and Terence McCarthy.

Fitzgerald will be hoping that the winning feeling he experienced as a player can be replicated by the current group of Midleton players, some of whom were involved in the county win in 2013.

After the early exit in 2020 following defeat by Douglas in their final group game, Midleton will be hoping to make a much more lasting impression in this year’s championship.

Quizzed about the potential that this crop of players have, the manager offers a definite response.

“We are not dealing with potential, we have to deliver now. 

I don’t think the work we put into last year’s championship was reflected in our performances. 

"As it turned out, we were not good enough. 

"Planning ahead is so uncertain for 2021 — we just have to see what develops in the next few months.”

Whatever happens in the year ahead, there will be no forgetting that success laden era when Ger was at his peak with club and county.
There were just not days to remember - but years to recall for the Fitzgerald family and wider Midleton GAA family.

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