Thursday 17 October 2019

Davy Fitzgerald's exit from Wexford would cause 'pandemonium', says former star

With rumours swirling about Fitzgerald possibly being in the mix to replace Micheál Donoghue in Galway, Dempsey believes it would be a “huge blow” were he to leave the sunny southeast. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
With rumours swirling about Fitzgerald possibly being in the mix to replace Micheál Donoghue in Galway, Dempsey believes it would be a “huge blow” were he to leave the sunny southeast. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Wexford legend Tom Dempsey is adamant that the services of Davy Fitzgerald as senior hurling boss must be secured "for at least another year" or Model County fortunes may turn bleak with "no ready-made replacement" to steer them forward.

With rumours swirling about Fitzgerald possibly being in the mix to replace Micheál Donoghue in Galway, Dempsey believes it would be a "huge blow" were he to leave the sunny south-east after claiming Leinster honours earlier this summer.

Dempsey, an All-Ireland winner in 1996, feels it is a necessity that everything is done to see Fitzgerald take charge of Wexford for a fourth year and put a succession plan in place for when he does part ways.

"I really think it's important that they keep him for at least another year. Walking out of Nowlan Park four years ago after a 24-point hammering to Kilkenny, you couldn't have said that Wexford would have a Leinster title four years later," Dempsey said.

"Since Davy came in, we have been very successful in Wexford terms and the bottom line is that there is no ready-made replacement if he decides to not come back. The problem that we would have would be something similar to what Waterford have then.

"Davy has built a system and has the trust of the players, they are very much going in the one direction and it has taken three years to build that. If somebody new came in, they'd come in with new ideas.

"It wouldn't be a simple job to change systems, change everything and gain trust so it's important for Wexford that he stays at least another year and that they groom someone for the job during that time.

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"Some people will say this and that about their system but if you change that system you could have pandemonium, it could take another 12 months to turn that around and get a new imprint on it so there's a lot riding on Davy."

While acknowledging that Wexford need to unearth another two or three players to become genuine All-Ireland contenders, Dempsey is confident that they can challenge for Liam MacCarthy once again under Fitzgerald's watch.

Dempsey doesn't believe that Fitzgerald will make the switch to Galway should he leave Wexford given his "special relationship" with players and fans, although the Buffer's Alley clubman appreciates that there are other things which will shape his decision.

"People are talking about Galway but I don't believe Davy would go to Galway. If you talk to 99 per cent of Wexford people, they absolutely love Davy. They all want him to stay, he's the Lord Mayor in waiting down there, they absolutely love him," he said.

"I'm not sure where you would go if he didn't come back. The first thing would be to get someone high-profile and I'm not sure if there's anyone waiting within the county to take that job. It's vital for us that he does stay.

"There's only so much you can give to something too but I just hope for Wexford's sake that he does stay. If he doesn't stay, I see him taking a break. I don't see him going across to Galway.

"He needs to take care of himself of course but hopefully he'll do that in a couple of years' time and stay with us in the meantime."

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