Davy Fitzgerald pleads with Wexford supporters to be patient and 'give lads a chance'
If the Wexford project is to work under Davy Fitzgerald, it will need both players and supporters to buy into it.
Even allowing for how difficult it was to do anything other than survive in the dreadful conditions in New Ross yesterday, there was enough evidence to suggest that the players are working their way into the new patterns being weaved for them by the manager.
The supporters, it seems, will take a bit longer to become accustomed to how Wexford will play in the Fitzy era. He noticed it too, prompting a call for patience.
"You could sense the crowd getting frustrated at times in the first half. They've got to stop and give the lads a chance.
"So let's try a few new things and see how we get on. We are all on the same path so let's see what happens. Let's be patient - give the lads a chance - that's the most important thing," said Fitzgerald.
Despite losing to Kilkenny after squandering late chances to win - or least draw - Fitzgerald was pleased with the overall performance and indeed with what the camp has taken from the Walsh Cup.
"We have been trying different things and some of them are working and some are breaking down. But it's very early days. You won't find a better team in the country to hold you up in the tackle than Kilkenny but we kept going today. We changed our shape in the second half and it worked better," he said.
Yesterday's game ended the sparring phase for Wexford, prior to heading into the Allianz League on Sunday week. The spotlight will increase then but Fitzgerald believes that it would be unrealistic of the supporters to expect too much too soon.
"I'm in this job three months and am trying to work on a lot of different things. It won't happen overnight. When we went to Clare it took maybe a year and a bit to get to grips with it. It's great to see a big crowd here today and I want to give them something to shout about," he said.
That would have happened if Cathal Dunbar had goaled from a great chance in stoppage time but, despite the miss, Fitzgerald was delighted to see the Ballygarret man go low rather than opt for a point which would have brought Wexford level.
"If we get a chance, go for it. We are here to hurl and express ourselves. I'm a big advocate of that. Go out there and play with a freedom - have a cut and see what happens," he said.
Uncertainty surrounds whether Conor McDonald will be fit for the League opener against Limerick on Sunday week after he spent a few days in hospital with a leg injury. There are other injury concerns too but Fitzgerald is happy that they have the required strength in depth to cope.
"What I can say for certain is that this a great bunch of guys. They have the right attitude and are working very, very hard."
So what's the hardest part of his new assignment?
"The only thing I find tough is the driving. The rest is very enjoyable."
Brian Cody was pleased to be booked in for another game (v Galway next weekend), prior to getting into the serious business in the Allianz League a week later.
"It wasn't an easy day for hurling that's for sure. It was a very, very dogged kind of a game. With the conditions and the time of year, that's understandable. A competitive game like that is good preparation," he said.