Rossiter: Right men in place to pick up Model
THE building blocks to restore Wexford hurling to its former glory are now in place, according to Keith Rossiter. All that's missing, he reasons, is a "couple of wins now" at senior championship level.
No better place to start than this Saturday in Tullamore (7.0), where the Slaneysiders open their Leinster SHC campaign with a quarter-final against Offaly that could well define Liam Dunne's debut campaign as manager.
"I was listening to an interview with Liam Dunne on the local radio," Rossiter related to the Evening Herald, "and he was just saying about the minor structure - they were beaten by Carlow (in 2006) but now that's changing, they're competing again with the Kilkennys and Dublins and Offalys.
"We have three or four of those minors from last year's team involved with the senior team.
"So I think the structures are in place," added the Wexford captain.
"The right men are over the county teams - the guys of '96 put the shoulder to the wheel over the last couple of years, and it's bearing fruit now."
That said, there was a time (back in the mid-90s) when a Leinster clash between Offaly and the Model County carried genuine All-Ireland significance. No one is making such bold claims today.
"Our last big achievement was in 2007 when we beat Tipp in an All-Ireland quarter-final and then were unlucky enough to draw Kilkenny again in the semi-final," the 28-year-old defender reflected.
"So, confidence-wise, we're rebuilding that too. It's a new team, new management, so it all starts from scratch."
Rossiter is confident that, in his Oulart-The Ballagh club-mate, Wexford have the right man to lead the rejuvenation.
"At times, when he's putting you through the hard slog, you know he's been there and done that. That's something the players look up to," he explained.
"He's put in a lot of hard work with the club over the last couple of years and got us into Leinster finals, where we need to be competing.
"We know what to expect from him, and we know what brushes him up the wrong way and what brushes him up the right way!
"I think we're going the right road at the minute, and we'll know more on Saturday."