Sunday 20 October 2019

Foley: Wexford aiming to be proper models of consistency

Wexford’s Paudie Foley at the launch of the GAA/Ombudsman for Children’s Office Rights Awareness Resource at Croke Park. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Wexford’s Paudie Foley at the launch of the GAA/Ombudsman for Children’s Office Rights Awareness Resource at Croke Park. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

In name at least, it's the close season but Wexford's hurlers are already making big plans for the summer of 2019.

It will be year three under Davy Fitzgerald. The last two seasons have provided landmark wins and big days out, but, so far, championship titles have remained out of reach.

Last month Conor McDonald insisted that silverware had to be their goal and Paudie Foley has echoed those sentiments.

"One-hundred per cent," he said when asked if he agreed with McDonald's comments.

"We're two years into a process with Davy (Fitzgerald) and the only reason we wanted him back and he wanted to come back is to win something.

"We've been there or thereabouts with the big teams, we've competed well in the league and in the championship.

"We want silverware and whether it's a Leinster title or an All-Ireland title, we'll be going for it.

"We'll take it one game at a time, try and win each game and see where it takes us, definitely. But we know we can compete with the big teams."

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Under Fitzgerald they have gained promotion to Division 1A and reached a Leinster final.

The squad have also contested All-Ireland quarter-finals in three of the last four years but they have failed to get past that stage on each occasion, including this year's clash with Clare where they fell well short.

"That was a big disappointment," he said at the launch of a collaborative Rights Awareness Resource which seeks to highlight the role the Rights of the Child plays in the creation and delivery of GAA initiatives.

"We just didn't show up that day. I think they probably studied us better than we had them and it kind of showed in different parts of the game where they had their homework done on how we were going to play.

"It's something we will learn from and bring forward to 2019. Things will be mixed up a bit and you just have to approach different teams different ways."

And while they have showed they can compete with anyone on a given day, Foley admits finding a consistent level of performance is their biggest issue.

"It is a bit of inconsistency really. We tend to get really up for some games and then fall in others. I think it's consistency, performing at that top level all of the time. You can't let your performance drop for 10 minutes in a game.

"If you're up two or three points, you could lose by conceding a goal or a few points, it's just a case of keeping playing at the highest level for as long as possible and seeing out games, definitely."

Five different counties have lifted Liam MacCarthy in the last six seasons. And Foley reckons that shows how little there is between the sides at the top of the tree.

"Limerick kind of came from relatively nowhere, from the middle of the pack, and with a young team, they just showed no fear. I think it's a credit to them. Definitely we can push on and definitely compete highly with the likes of the Limericks, Galways, Kilkennys, Clares and Corks."

Wexford don't start their 2019 campaign until their Walsh Cup semi-final next month but they expect to be without Damien Reck (jaw) and Rory O'Connor (knee) for the early part of the league campaign.

Meanwhile, the rest of the squad are looking to put down a gruelling pre-season in the hope that it will stand to them by the time the summer rolls around.

"It's just trying to keep on top of everything and a bit of balance between it all. You try to keep the hurl in your hand the whole time and I suppose when there's Fitzgibbon coming in early January, you'll always have the hurl in your hand to keep you sharp.

"You try to think towards the big games in the Fitzgibbon and the league and championship when you are doing the hard training.

"Thinking ahead that it'll all be worth it when it comes to the big games and you are out on the pitch playing in front of thousands of people."

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