Wednesday 18 January 2017

Rossiter: 'Davy is the right man for job but it's going to take time'

Michael Verney

Published 26/10/2016 | 02:30

Keith Rossiter of Oulart the Ballagh
Keith Rossiter of Oulart the Ballagh

Davy Fitzgerald is the "right man for the job" but it will take time for the new Wexford senior hurling boss to see the fruits of his labour, according to retired Model defender Keith Rossiter.

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Rossiter's Oulart-The Ballagh club-mate Liam Dunne oversaw the "migrating of old and young" during his five-year reign and optimism is high on Slaneyside that Fitzgerald's professionalism "can bring it on another step".

His three-year appointment, set to be reviewed after the second year, comes with a warning, however. Despite the "good hype" Rossiter feels expectations for their three-in-a-row Leinster U-21-winning sides should be tempered with Wexford standing at a crossroads after encountering turbulence in recent years.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the way he works and how he gets on with the boys, see a bit of a pep in their step again and see how they get on. They've a huge carrot there in the championship as well," Rossiter said.

"They've the round-robin winners and then move on to play Kilkenny in Wexford Park. What other incentive does Davy want? He's always wanted a good bash at Brian Cody, win a game and you have Brian Cody in Wexford Park, that's huge carrot for the boys."

Success

"It's going to take his two years," he added. "He has a huge success rate in his first year with teams but it's going to take a little bit of time with these lads, they're still very young. The average age is very low in Wexford so it's going to be a bit of work.

"If you're looking at goals you're looking at really competing in Division 1B, which we haven't really done in the last couple of years, we need to get out of it at some stage in the next two years and be pushing on in Leinster.

"I don't really look at All-Ireland stages until Leinster is over so Leinster is the big thing. When I was growing up and started with Wexford Leinster finals were taken for granted, fair enough you weren't winning them, but you were playing in them. That day is long gone so it's a matter of getting back there."

The former Model skipper believes the presence of the 2013 All-Ireland-winning Banner boss will help to entice the likes of Jack Guiney and Kevin Foley back into the fold while long-term injury casualties like Andrew Shore, Shane Tomkins and David Redmond should all return to full fitness for 2017.

"You're missing five lads who were there for the last five or six years. We haven't got those guys to replace them in Wexford. We had a couple of young guys who came in but they wouldn't have the experience. So in fairness to Liam, he was sort of dealt a hand that he had to play with," he said.

"We all know about our Jack Guineys and one or two younger guys as well that opted out of the panel for personal reasons. A name like Davy and the set-up Davy will bring will entice these lads out of the woodwork I suppose, it's probably for the betterment of Wexford hurling."

One player that won't be coaxed back is Rossiter himself, however. Despite ending his inter-county days two years ago, the 32-year-old is still performing to his usually high standards for reigning Wexford and Leinster SHC champions Oulart but "life moves on".

He has come to terms with being away from the county scene and settled into club life. While acknowledging the frustrations experienced by the majority of club players around the country, leading to the recent formation of the Club Players Association, he doesn't see how things can change.

"It's a tough scenario for club players, you're going through the glorious summer months without stroking a ball. You're hurling a bit of league that doesn't really make a difference, you're just waiting for championship, you'd love to be hurling championship but it just can't happen," he said.

"It's the way it's always been for the club player really. There's no right or wrong to it. You sort of get used to it, some club players like it, some guys get to go away for the summer and come back having not missed a thing.

"For the older guy that has settled roots in a job, you don't get to go away but you get used to your year. I don't think there's any way around it to be honest with you. The GAA have looked at it themselves to try and keep everyone happy but it's very hard to keep everyone happy."

Irish Independent

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