Wednesday 21 August 2019

I knew Galway could struggle against Dublin - Fitzgerald

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald had predicted to his players that Galway could struggle to beat Dublin, which meant his side had to at least draw with Kilkenny in order to stay in the Championship.

And that's exactly how a dramatic night of action in the Leinster series panned out.

"Would you believe I told the guys all week I thought they (Galway) were in trouble. I thought going up to Parnell Park, Dublin had an extra week, the Kilkenny game would have taken a lot out of Galway.

"Dublin were fresh and they were ready for road. It is a shock? It's not a shock because I think Dublin are really decent. I was telling them (the players) all week that, listen, I think we have to go for it."

Asked about meeting Kilkenny in the Leinster final on Sunday week Fitzgerald was emphatic.

"Jesus, if you are a hurling person you want to play the best. The respect I have for Brian Cody is immense, like. But you want to play him."

The former Waterford and Clare boss, who has now guided Wexford to two Leinster final appearances in the last three seasons, acknowledged there was a lot on the line for every team in the final round of fixtures.

"You know I wear my heart on my sleeve all the time, which can be a problem sometimes. But I would be very sentimental towards these guys. The respect that they have shown me is incredible," said Fitzgerald, who broke away from his post-match interview to hug Rory O'Connor as he made his way back to the dressing room.

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A Munster man to the core, he is now singing the praises of the Leinster Championship.

"This is absolutely incredible - to have this down here, to have this atmosphere, to have that rivalry. I think it's great for hurling, I really do. And I'm so lucky to be part of it.

"I'm so happy that I came to Wexford to have that opportunity to play Kilkenny in games like that. It's immense.

"I've heard talk that the hurling Championship this year might have been off a small bit. Well if anyone tells me the Leinster Championship has been off then they are off their rocker, because there has been unbelievable hurling in the Leinster Championship this summer, and that's the truth.

"Four teams end up on five points, Galway - who won the All-Ireland two years ago - are out of the Championship. It's incredible."

Kilkenny boss Brian Cody suggested that Galway's elimination from the Leinster series might finally end the talk that the Leinster Championship is an easy place to be.

"I had no idea of the score in Parnell Park until the game (there) was over. Somebody came in off the sideline and told me, but I hardly even heard it. Our focus was on what was happening here," he said.

"We couldn't have known the game was going to end in a draw. It was helter-skelter stuff. The goal was hugely important for us. It gave us a small bit of a lead. It was that kind of game, it could have gone either way. As it turns out, we're happy to have drawn the game."

Irish Independent

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