Davy delighted with win
Fresh injury blow as newcomer Flood ruled out for year
A relieved Davy Fitzgerald celebrated with Wexford supporters after his side's late surge handed them a four-point victory over reigning Munster champions, Cork, in an enthralling Allianz Hurling League Division 1A game at Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.
As the game hung in the balance, Fitzgerald turned to his bench in the closing stages with both Jack Guiney and Harry Kehoe delivering crucial late scores when they were needed most.
The outcome left Cork manager and Wexford native, John Meyler, to declare 'they threw the kitchen sink at us in the closing five minutes'.
Fitzgerald acknowledged after the game: 'We scored 21 points today, we could have won by twelve points, we could have scored 25, 26 or 27.'
It was Wexford's second consecutive win, having beaten Waterford in their opening game, but Fitzgerald declared: 'We made it hard on ourselves in the end. But you know what? Aren't we better to have battles like that where we're actually coming out on top?
'That's what we want. And the atmosphere there in the end was incredible.
'I know some of our players didn't play as well and they normally could, but to win a tight one like that is good for us.
'People say it's very early in the year, I don't really care. When you play hurling, you go out to win every game you can and that's the way I've always approached it. To me a winning habit is not a bad habit.'
Wexford overcame the concession of an early goal, leaving Fitzgerald to admire the way his side responded.
'We gave Cork two goal chances, they took one, but we rectified it. There weren't too many goal chances after that.
'All told, we came through the battle fairly well, but we can be better than we were today, we hit too many wides but thankfully we got those crucial scores at the end.'
Fitzgerald was glowing in his praise of the support his side received.
'You could feel the atmosphere in the last ten to 15 minutes and when the hard balls had to be won we won them. Cork did come at us, but we took off and went again and the supporters played their part.
'When things weren't going well for us, they didn't get negative because that affects the team. In the end they were a big help to us and were driving us on.
'We'll need one more win and we'll stay in Division 1A. I'll give them two or three days off, give them a small bit of a breather.'
As the Wexford support drove their side on in that closing spell, Fitzgerald for once remained a cool head on the sideline.
'Listen, there's times to get animated. I've left this up to the players. They know the story.
'They're just told go out and hurl. We just let them off, let them at it, and I think they are getting more confident.'
Meanwhile, on a disappointing note, one of Wexford's brightest young prospects, Connal Flood, is out of hurling for the year.
Flood underwent surgery for a cruciate knee injury last week, received when assisting W.I.T. in the Fitzgibbon Cup.
Having being introduced to the Senior squad this year, the young Cloughbawn forward, an outstanding Minor, was making rapid progress and beginning to play some of the best hurling of his career.
His injury, while a huge blow to Davy Fitzgerald, will also be a major setback to Cloughbawn, as they try to regain Senior status having been relegated last year.
However, there is better news regarding corner-back Damien Reck.
The Oylegate-Glenbrien clubman came off injured in the first-half against Cork, having gone over on his ankle.
Reck, who missed much of last season having undergone ankle surgery, was removed as a precaution, as the ankle had swollen following the incident.
However, he will be fit to resume training within a week and will be available for the Tipperary game.
Rory O'Connor has resumed light training following knee surgery, and is making rapid progress, while Colm Kehoe should have reached full fitness within the next week, having overcome a long-standing hamstring injury.
Forward Liam Og McGovern is continuing rehab following a second cruciate operation within a year, with the championship his main target.