Saturday 16 February 2019

Davy Fitzgerald on the verge of sensational inter-county return with Wexford

Former Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Former Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Speculation is mounting that Davy Fitzgerald is poised to succeed Liam Dunne as Wexford hurling manager.

The former Clare boss is expected to be ratified tonight after emerging as the Slaneyside chiefs' firm favourite for the position.

Fitzgerald, who recently stepped down as Clare boss after five years in charge, met with Wexford officials at a Portlaoise hotel yesterday.

It is understood that Wexford county board chairman Diarmuid Devereux was present, along with secretary Margaret Doyle, and that 45-year-old Fitzgerald was offered the job. It had been thought that Wexford were set to make a fresh approach to Frank Flannery, the former Cork coach involved with Oulart-The Ballagh, but the saga has taken a significant twist in the past 24 hours.

Fitzgerald sought assurances from Devereux and Doyle that Dunne wasn't a live contender for the post before listening to what the pair had to say.

He was then informed that Dunne, who has completed five years at the helm, won't be considered for a sixth, even though he was interviewed for the role last week.

It is not yet clear if Donal Óg Cusack, Fitzgerald's coach in Clare for the 2016 season, will be joining him in Wexford.

Sources have indicated that Cusack was present with Fitzgerald at a separate meeting in Portlaoise earlier this week, but not yesterday.

Former Cork goalkeeper Cusack could instead remain involved with Clare in some capacity for the sake of continuity, with Anthony Daly heading the race to succeed Fitzgerald in the Banner County.

Fitzgerald, a two-time All-Ireland winning goalkeeper with Clare in 1995 and '97, managed the Banner to All-Ireland glory in 2013. And earlier this year, he presided over a first league title for the county since 1978.

But two weeks ago, Fitzgerald's departure from the Clare job was confirmed via a statement.

He had asked joint-captains Cian Dillon and Tony Kelly "to ascertain the opinions of the wider panel on whether they would like a change of voice".

Fitzgerald's statement indicated that "divided opinions" were expressed by the players, and as a result, he decided to step aside "in the best interests of Clare hurling".

But Fitzgerald seems to have wasted no time in finding a fresh challenge, and if confirmed, this is a major coup for Devereux, just a couple of months before he vacates the chairman's position.

Irish Independent

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