Saturday 23 March 2019

Heartwarming moment as Davy Fitzgerald fulfils Late Late Toy Show promise to 'inspirational' Michael O'Brien

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald with special guest Michael O'Brien from Killarney, Co Kerry, who met Davy on the Late Late Toy Show last Christmas
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald with special guest Michael O'Brien from Killarney, Co Kerry, who met Davy on the Late Late Toy Show last Christmas

Harry Clarke

Davy Fitzgerald fulfilled his Late Late Toy Show promise when young Michael O'Brien gave his Wexford players a team talk ahead of their thrilling Allianz League victory over Tipperary today.

Michael (11), who is visually impaired, warmed the hearts of the nation when he appeared on the Late Late Toy Show. Michael, from Kerry, revealed he was Fitzgerald's biggest fan and couldn't believe it when Ryan Turbridy introduced the Wexford boss who duly took his seat alongside Michael.

"I have your book in the back, and I need you to sign it!" an excited Michael said to Fitzgerald, who had his own request.

"I need a small bit of help," said Fitzgerald. "I need another passionate man with me."

Fitzgerald explained that he had three important league games coming up, and asked his biggest fan to come along and give them a team talk.

"That's a deal," said Michael, who later walked away with All-Ireland Final tickets for his troubles.

Today at Wexford Innovate Park, Fitzgerald made good on that promise when Michael took to the field ahead of the win over Kilkenny.

"Absolute privilege to have Michael O'Brien with @OfficialWexGAA today," said Wexford coach Seoirse Bulfin. "What an inspiration to kids and adults alike. You could hear a pin drop when he spoke to the players before the game. A truly super young man #AllianzLeague #Inspiration."

Wexford 1-15 Tipperary 1-14

An injury time Aidan Nolan point gave Wexford the win after a thrilling second half in Innovate Wexford Park.

The ball had been in play for almost three injury minutes before Lee Chin picked out Nolan, who clipped over to hand the home side a morale boosting win.

It was a heartbreaking finish for Tipperary who played the majority of the game with 14 men after the dismissal of Noel McGrath on two yellow cards in the first half.

Playing against the breeze and a man down, the visitors led by eight points early in the second half. However, Davy Fitzgerald's men set about reeling the Munster men in with Seamus Casey's goal kick starting their comeback.

Tipperary, playing with the aid of a stiff breeze, got off to the dream start with a goal after 46 seconds. Niall O'Meara blew past Damien Reck and fed Seamus Callanan. The Tipperary captain didn't get much of a connection on the ball but it was enough to take it past Eanna Martin in the Wexford goal.

Diarmuid O'Keefe hit back with a fine point and might have grabbed a goal of their own after two minutes. However Paul Maher made a good stop from Aidan Nolan.

McGrath then picked up his two yellows inside seven minutes but Tipp responded well to that set back and through Callanan frees, scored three of the final four points of the half to take a 1-7 to 0-6 lead in at the break after a turgid opening half.

Wexford called for Lee Chin at the break but Tipp started the brightest to open up an eight point lead. However, encouraged by Casey's goal Wexford stormed back and won it through Nolan at the death.  

SCORERS - Wexford: I Byrne 0-6 (6f), S Casey 1-1, D O’Keeffe 0-3, P Foley, K Foley, A Nolan, R O’Connor, C Dunbar (sl) 0-1 each.

Tipperary: S Callanan 1-7 (6f), J Forde (1f), N O’Meara 0-2 each, R Maher, J Morris, R Byrne 0-1 each.

Wexford: E Martin; D Reck, B Byrne, S Reck; P Foley, M O’Hanlon, S Murphy; D O’Keeffe, K Foley; A Nolan, S Casey, I Byrne; C Dunbar, C McDonald, L Og McGovern SUBS: L Chin for D Reck (HT), R O’Connor for Byrne (51), H Kehoe for Casey (62).

Tipperary: P Maher; D Maher, J Barry, Padraic Maher; S Kennedy, R Maher, B Heffernan; R Byrne, M Breen; J Forde, N McGrath, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher; J O’Dwyer, S Callanan, N O’Meara SUBS: J Morris for O’Dwyer (51), W Connors for Heffernan (54), A Flynn for D Maher (56), J McGrath for O’Meara (58), T Fox for Byrne (67). 

Referee: C Lyons (Cork)

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