Sunday 25 August 2019

Davy to 'think about' role

Time needed before Fitzgerald will signal 2020 plans

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald addresses his players on the field after Sunday’s gut-wrenching All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tipperary in Croke Park
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald addresses his players on the field after Sunday’s gut-wrenching All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tipperary in Croke Park

Brendan Furlong

Davy Fitzgerald will take some time out to consider his future.

Having taken Wexford on quite a journey over his three seasons in charge, it was an emotional manager who spoke to the media in the wake of this shattering All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tipperary at Croke Park on Sunday, as their bid to appear in a first All-Ireland final in 23 years came up just short.

In the aftermath of this defeat, the question on everyone's lips was: 'Will he stay or will he go?'

He has spent three years commuting from Sixmilebridge in County Clare, three years of bringing Wexford hurling to another level, with a new tactical approach to the game for the county and improved skill levels.

Having re-ignited a county that was just free-wheeling along with little in sight at the end of the tunnel, Fitzgerald transformed Wexford.

Now the county must wait to see if the maestro will return.

At the end of the 2018 campaign, it took a group of players to make the long journey to Davy's homeplace to remind him of his importance to Wexford hurling and this group of players. Davy decided to remain at the helm for a third term, which is now complete.

When Davy was introduced to Wexford hurling by then Wexford Chairman, Diarmuid Devereux, he was given a three-year goal - bring Wexford to a Leinster final, gain promotion, and bring the county into the top six.

He has more than achieved this, winning promotion, qualifying for a league semi-final, and winning a Leinster title this year, in the process qualifying for an All-Ireland semi-final.

He galvanised the county's supporters, bringing a record attendance to a Leinster final against Galway in 2017, a support base that has remained behind the team, with more than 61,000 in Croke Park on Sunday.

When the question was put to him, Davy replied:

'I really believed coming today that we'd be in an All-Ireland final.

'Whether I can do it again, I don't know. I didn't want to think about it for a while.

'I think I just need to stop. It's been 18 years playing, and 13 others, no breather.

'I absolutely adore that bunch. If I asked that bunch to do anything for me, they would. They're absolutely incredible and they won't give in.

'It's funny, I've been over teams a long time. The bond I have with this crew, I don't think I've had it with any team.

'Going to training is actually really good. I swear to God.

'You do two hours and 45 minutes (drive) from Clare and it isn't an easy thing 120 times a year,' he said.

'They're an unbelievable bunch. I really, really enjoy them and no matter what happens in Wexford I think I'll be friends with these guys for a long time to come'.

Regardless whether he is in the hot seat or not for 2020, Davy still believes the future is bright for the provincial champions who suffered their first championship defeat this year on Sunday.

'Wexford are in a good place, there's no fear in them guys. They are in the top two or three teams in the country.

'They're right there and deservedly so. They beat Kilkenny and deserved to beat them.

'I'm just bulling that we didn't get another chance to play them. We wanted to play Kilkenny, so badly.'

Now the agonising wait will go on and will be the topic at club championship games over the coming months.

See this week's Enniscorthy Guardian for full coverage

Enniscorthy Guardian