Friday 24 May 2019

Double blow for Fitzy ahead of Limerick test

Reck and O'Connor expected to miss league opener

Manager Davy Fitzgerald says Wexford will be ready to meet the challenge of All-Ireland champions Limerick
Manager Davy Fitzgerald says Wexford will be ready to meet the challenge of All-Ireland champions Limerick

Brendan Furlong

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald has some real concerns ahead of their National League opener against All-Ireland champions, Limerick, in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday, January 27.

Having played Clare in a tournament game in Tulla on Saturday last, losing out 1-19 to 2-13, Fitzgerald is now awaiting regular updates on the fitness levels of both Damien Reck and Rory O'Connor, as the squad has returned to training in preparation for the Division 1A league opener.

Reck received a fractured jaw in the opening minutes of the Fenway Classic game with Limerick in Boston which hospitalised him for several days, while O'Connor has undergone surgery on a knee injury which hampered him through the latter stages of the club season.

But Fitzgerald believes neither player will be available for the Limerick opener.

'Damien has returned to gym work, while Rory's fitness will also be monitored over the coming weeks.

'I am adamant that Rory will not be playing until fully fit, unlike last season, which will rule him out of the Limerick league opener. I have Damien in doing gym work but given the nature of his injury he will also miss the league opener. That's the way it is at the moment.

'We have been back training since December 1. I don't know how long it will take the players to fully recover from their injuries, but they will not be playing until fully fit. I dont want them struggling come the latter stages of the league and championship openers,' added Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald confirmed that Willie Devereux is also gone from the squad.

'I have spoken with Willie. He has his own business and is unable to give the commitment. I would love to have him back, for I've great time for him, but his work commitments made the decision.

'We are working off a panel of 28 at the moment. We have four extra players for training purposes. We gave players like Gavin Bailey (Ferns St. Aidan's), Rory Higgins (Rathnure) and Seamus Casey (Oylegate-Glenbrien) game time against Clare, while Ian Byrne was also very impressive.

'I'm satisfied with the start. It was a good run out against Clare for the players got game time. We have started back training later than previously but it will be built up over the coming weeks,' Fitzgerald said.

There's a lot of talk about the Limerick league opener and the visit of the All-Ireland champions.

'We have the reigning All-Ireland champions in town. They don't come any bigger than that. John Kiely has already set out his stall looking to a bigger year than 2018. So that's the challenge facing us.

'Limerick will not fear us but we will be ready to meet the challenge. We will be underdogs as Limerick will be roaring favourites given their new found status,' added Fitzgerald.

Enniscorthy Guardian