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'We are better than that

Davy disappointed but not disheartened by Clare loss

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Davy Fitzgerald urging on the Wexford team during Sunday’s Allianz League defeat at home to Clare

Davy Fitzgerald urging on the Wexford team during Sunday’s Allianz League defeat at home to Clare

Davy Fitzgerald urging on the Wexford team during Sunday’s Allianz League defeat at home to Clare

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald will be seeking huge improvement when his side return to Allianz National League action against Kilkenny at Chadwicks Wexford Park on Sunday week - a huge game for his side given the loss to Clare in their second round clash.

Fitzgerald expressed disappointment with the result but is still looking forward to possibly meeting Clare again later in the season when he will have players of the calibre of Matthew O'Hanlon, Lee Chin and Diarmuid O'Keeffe available.

While there was much attention on the Fitzgerald-Brian Lohan managerial feud, the Wexford boss was keen to reflect on what had just happened on the playing pitch instead.

'It's just disappointing because I know we are better than that. I know people will say we are short serious guys today, big guns, but that game was still there for the winning for us,' he said.

'We have no excuses. Well done to them but sure it's a long year ahead yet.'

'They (Clare) played great stuff when they went back to using the ball. When they use the ball, Clare are good. I thought they showed some great resilience and I really look forward to meeting them during the year and having another go.'

There was no handshake in Wexford between the managers, but neither was there much drama in what was a stop-start game, played on a heavy sod.

'People can write what they want about me and Brian Lohan. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. Sure it keeps you boys going for a week,' Fitzgerald said.

'He is who he is and I am who I am and that's grand. That will never come into it with me. I am a Clare man. I will always be a proud Clare man, but I am manager of Wexford and I love what I do down here.

'Well done to Clare. They won the game, so very little can I say. Am I disappointed?

'Of course I'm disappointed. There's more to Wexford than what we showed today.

'They fought very hard but I thought the period coming up to half-time when we brought it back to three points, that last seven or eight minutes we let them pick off five easy scores.

'That was disappointing. Clare showed great resilience and well done to them today. They fought really hard. To be totally honest, Clare winning today, fine.

'It it was the middle of May or June I might be a bit panicked or disappointed.'

Reflecting on that critical period before half-time, Fitzgerald added:

'The mentality, we talked about that at half-time. They were waiting for stuff to happen. That period just before half-time was actually our fault. We took the foot off the gas, so we did, and we thought because we had the extra man.....'

While Wexford battled to get back into the game, it was Clare's Tony Kelly who shone.

'I felt we had countered Kelly well at first,' said Fitzgerald, but he acknowledged the influence of his former player.

'I thought he was out of it for a good bit in the first-half. I thought we're actually doing all right on him. In the second-half he did get on a bit of ball, and he did hurt us more in the second-half, than in the first.'

Clare manager Brian Lohan said he was happy with the result after initially being asked about his former team-mate.

'No, I had no interaction with Davy during the course of the game. The game was score for score, we managed to pick off some crucial second-half scores.

'The lads showed remarkable resilience. I have no complaints with the first-half sending-off of John Conlon. The tackle was head high. He left the referee with little alternative.'

While Wexford paid the price for failing to push home their numerical advantage in the second-half, they will now look to a challenge in Ferns next Sunday against Waterford at 1 p.m. to mark the official opening of the club's new dressing-room complex and grounds.

Injured duo, Lee Chin and Matthew O'Hanlon, along with Diarmuid O'Keeffe, will likely see some action during the course of the game, in an effort to prove their fitness for the Kilkenny clash.

While there may be some frustration at the loss to Clare, Wexford will now be hoping to return to closer to full strength against Kilkenny who are expected to have all their first choice players available for the short trip on Sunday week.

Enniscorthy Guardian