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Saturday 18 August 2018

Davy delighted with win

Relieved boss accepts 'we made it hard on ourselves'

Davy Fitzgerald celebrates after the final whistle in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday
Davy Fitzgerald celebrates after the final whistle in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday

Brendan Furlong

Davy Fitzgerald revealed that he was absolutely delighted with the battling qualities shown by his side at they launched a three-point victory effort in additional time to claim a fully-deserved two-point win over Dublin in the Leinster Senior hurling championship round-robin game played at Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.

'Look, we were always conscious that this was going to be a tough game given the progress Dublin have made,' he said.

'The Dublin management, to their credit, are doing a great job with this team, and all is not lost up there, but I still think we were the better team on the day.

'We made it hard on ourselves. We had our chances, we should have killed off the game, we missed two goal chances, while we conceded two soft goals, so if you give away two momentum swings, it's difficult to get it back again.

'But I'm delighted with the way we played. We created 38 chances, got 22 scores, 13 wides, and created two goal chances. We are only a year and a half into this project and one could see that at times.

Fitzgerald was not happy with the refereeing on the Dubs' second goal. 'Liam Ryan was fouled close to the end line, Liam Rushe nearly pulled the jersey off him, while the goalscorer must have taken ten steps before applying the finish. I thought it was a definite free out, while a slack Damien Reck clearance led to their opening goal,' he added.

But he heaped praise on his charges as they came up with the goods in additional time.

'It's something we are conscious of but still not many teams would have come back from going a point down in the closing minute. Look, the lads did not drop the heads, they came right back with three points in additional time, so credit to them.

'They battled through this game, the marking was magnificent, we dispossessed Dublin on so many occasions. Our tackling was immense with the team effort fantastic.

'Our turnover count was double that of Dublin's which brings a new dimension to our game. I honestly believe we were the better team. We deserved the win, Dublin were second best and possibly deserved a victory even more last Sunday.'

Looking ahead, Fitzgerald said: 'Galway and Kilkenny are the furthest from my mind. I am looking no further than Offaly next Saturday evening.

'We have always found it difficult in Tullamore and Kevin Martin is doing a great job. Offaly are always capable of springing a shock so we will be wary of that.'

Wexford have got their championship campaign off to a winning start, but he warns his charges to respect Offaly.

'Look, we know what it is like to go to Tullamore. Offaly have turned us over there before and they showed against Kilkenny they are making massive progress.

'It's a huge game and we will need to be fully focused to take the points. It's going to be yet another hell of a battle,' Fitzgerald added.

His counterpart, Pat Gilroy, admitted that Wexford had been on top of them for most of the game.

'Wexford in fairness were all over us for a lot of that game. After the second goal we threw a lot at it, got ahead, but missed a chance to give us a two-point lead which would have left Wexford needing a goal and time would have been against them.

'We now have two games left but we are not ruling ourselves out of the race by any means. We may have lost both games, games we set out to win, so losing is not progress.

'But I'm not surprised that we were in both games right to the end, given our form during preparation, but while we played well for stages, we made mistakes, which is something to look at and work on.'

On the player front, Fitzgerald is happy that there are no fresh injuries coming out of the Dublin game.

'All of the players came through, while Colm Kehoe, who was in the subs, is making real progress. We will have more news on Liam Og McGovern this week but we hope that he will become available very shortly.'

Saturday's game, at 7 p.m., will be preceded by the football clash of Laois and Westmeath.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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