Thursday 20 June 2019

Davy slams his critics

Boss defends hurling style after second draw in Galway

Referee Johnny Murphy orders Davy Fitzgerald to the stand as fourth official Mick Murtagh from Westmeath looks on
Referee Johnny Murphy orders Davy Fitzgerald to the stand as fourth official Mick Murtagh from Westmeath looks on

Brendan Furlong

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald has offered a passionate defence of Wexford hurling and the team's style of play.

Wexford's rampant second-half performance helped them force a draw with Galway in their Leinster championship outing in Pearse Stadium, Salthill, on Sunday, and they could have snatched a dramatic victory in additional time.

On a day when he was sent to the stands just nine minutes into the second-half, Fitzgerald spoke of his pride in the Wexford team and how pleased he was with their commitment and spirit shown through the 70 minutes of intense, physical hurling.

Wexford played into the strong wind in the first-half and shot ten wides before finding themselves trailing by six points at the break, and seven early in the second period.

However, they roared back to lead late in the second period, and came ever so close to snatching what would have been a dramatic victory.

Fitzgerald insisted that he goes out to win every game. 'That is very important to me, but what I'm happy with is the manner in which our lads fought. I thought it was incredible.

'We missed a lot of scores, shot ten first-half wides. I've no doubt at least five of them should have been points. But we still kept going. If you are involved with any team, then that is what you want,' he said.

Just ten minutes into the second-half, Fitzgerald was sent to the stand, having reacted to an off-the-ball tackle which saw Jason Flynn take Damien Reck out of the game.

Fitzgerald insisted it wasn't a first offence against his corner-back. 'It is the second time we have played here and Damien Reck has been taken out off-the-ball twice,' he insisted.

'I can't let that go. I didn't abuse him but I said that is not acceptable enough because it led to a point. I made the point about the tackle.

'There will be certain guys never punished. It's over now. I'm happy with today. That was a great fighting display up here.

'Galway are a top-class team and we came up and gave them everything. We were unlucky at the end not to have come away with a good result.

'But then again that fourth official possibly wanted to make a name for himself and he did that,' Fitzgerald added.

Wexford's tactical approach has come under scrutiny under Fitzgerald's stewardship, with long-time hurling supporter Jim Bolger urging his county to adopt a more traditional style of play in a radio interview with Marty Morrissey following the Dublin draw.

Meanwhile, All-Ireland 1996 captain, Martin Storey, described Wexford's style of play as 'imported hurling' on the same programme following the Galway draw.

But Fitzgerald is adamant his style has helped Wexford become a more credible team.

'If they want that, they might think of what had happened over the last number of years. Only four years ago they lost to Dublin by 16 points.

'I want this team to be competitive. They play some great stuff. I'll worry about the hurling and let other people worry about their sports. That is important,' Fitzgerald added.

Now he is looking forward to the Carlow game. 'That Galway game was a massive effort. Look at Shaun Murphy throwing himself into a tackle to block the ball.

'That game will have taken a lot out of the team. It may not have been the greatest spectacle but we are still unbeaten in the championship.

'The Carlow game will be difficult, I have seen them on a couple of occasions and they have been setting themselves up for this game.'

That game is down for decision at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, in Innovate Wexford Park, and it is now likely to be preceded by the All-Ireland football first round qualifier after Paul McLoughlin's men were drawn at home to Allianz League Division 4 champions Derry on Monday morning.

Enniscorthy Guardian