Monday 22 January 2018

Davy Fitz will come up with something to make his presence felt

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

With Davy Fitzgerald accepting his eight-week ban, Wexford's hurlers can finally get back to basics and concentrate on activities inside the white lines as they look to build on a promising league campaign.

The off-the-wall antics employed by Fitzgerald when encroaching onto the pitch to spur on his side against Tipperary before engaging in a jostling match with Jason Forde were rightly punished by GAA authorities and despite feeling "harshly" treated, at least the sideshow is over.

Having witnessed the ramifications when his former Clare boss Ger Loughnane went through hell and high water to unsuccessfully clear Colin Lynch before the 1998 All-Ireland semi-final with Offaly, the wise decision was to avoid a similar fate.

The last thing Wexford or Fitzgerald needed were late nights expending energy while pleading their case in an effort to ensure the fiery Sixmilebridge native could man the sideline in their Leinster SHC opener, and a possible showdown with Kilkenny.

The prospect of Fitzgerald locking horns with Brian Cody is a tantalising prospect - one wonders will Cody visit the stands before the game commences for a pre-match handshake? - but with the boundaries changed, you're likely to see a different Fitzgerald.

Given his tactical ingenuity - once lining up his six forwards on the '65 at throw-in to confuse opposition in a Fitzgibbon Cup game - there's no doubt he will have something up his sleeve to make sure his presence his felt, even if it's not physically or verbally.

This is a man who once made sure Limerick IT avoided warming up in the University of Limerick for a Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final and brought his troops through the trees just minutes before throw-in just to stifle their city rivals before leading them to an almighty upset.

Nothing will stop him plotting and planning to get an edge off the pitch but the focus is now back on the performances of the Model men on it, and that's where they've been at their best under Fitzgerald, making radical progress to gain promotion to Division 1A for 2018.

The worry that they might hit a wall physically as summer arrives after a busy pre-season might even be negated by Fitzgerald's circumstances as the pressure now comes on the players to deliver. They haven't been found wanting thus far under their new manager and if he has his way, this could add even more fuel to Wexford's fire.

Irish Independent

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