Wednesday 7 December 2016

Wallace set for Leinster fray after ending Wexford wait

Tom Rooney

Published 26/10/2016 | 02:30

Phillip Wallace: silver lining
Phillip Wallace: silver lining

When Philip Wallace first lined out for the Gusserane O'Rahillys senior side as a teenage full-back, it's unlikely he imagined that it would take 21 long years before getting his hands on a Wexford SFC winner's medal.

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Wallace embarked on his club career in 1995, but it wasn't until just over a fortnight ago that Gusserane O'Rahillys defeated Glynn-Barntown in the county final, and his wait was finally over.

The win was made all the more sweet because it was all the way back in 1975 when Gusserane were last top dogs in the Model County. In Sunday's Leinster SFC quarter-final, Gusserane take on Offaly champions Rhode at O'Kennedy Park in New Ross.

Regrets

"So it was 21 years, with a bit of heartbreak and regrets, so I hung on long enough to finally get one. So it's lovely to be looking forward to a Leinster Club Championship, and even talking about it," Wallace said.

The 38-year-old was on the losing side in three county finals over the years, and two of them, a decade apart, took considerable time to get over.

Living and working in Dublin for the last 16 years, and now with a young family, Wallace admitted it was difficult at times to stay the course, but ultimately worth all the sacrifice.

"It's hard to keep it going and I don't get down there as much as I'd like, but you hang in there, hoping it will happen.

"In 1998 we got beaten by Fethard. We lost narrowly, but we struggled to recover from it, and it probably took us a couple of years to get over it. That's the one that sticks out.

"In 2008 we lost to Kilanerin and Mattie Forde scored something like 10 points. It's a huge relief to finally get over the line with it."

Irish Independent

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