Monday 18 December 2017

Thrill of promotion won't distract us from next job - McDonald

McDonald is excited about what 2018 will bring. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
McDonald is excited about what 2018 will bring. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Brian Lowry

Conor McDonald is thrilled to have secured top-flight hurling for next season, but the Wexford sharpshooter insists he is not looking beyond Sunday's week's clash with Laois, as the Model men bid to extend their unbeaten run.

"It's a new place, a new journey for us next year," he said. "But we have Laois next week and we're taking it game by game, wanting to win every game.

"We won't want to go to Wexford Park and not put in another performance. We'll try to keep the roll going as long as possible."

Manager Davy Fitzgerald admitted after Sunday's defeat of Offaly that promotion hadn't been an aim for his first season at the helm, but McDonald, one of the best young talents in the game, is excited about what 2018 will bring while praising the competitiveness of Division 1B.

"The All-Ireland semi-finalists, Galway, were in Division 1B this year; Limerick, who are nearly there or thereabouts every year, they're in Division 1B," he said. "You're going to get tough games at this time of year wherever you go.

"But to be playing week-in, week-out against the likes of Tipperary and Kilkenny and Cork, it's something that you aspire to do. We're looking forward to it."

Asked if Wexford's resurgence was simply down to the arrival of Fitzgerald, McDonald responded:"I think ye (the media) like to think so.

"I think it comes down to simple words of work-rate and working hard for each other."

Read more: Wexford promotion 'rates right up there' for Fitzgerald

In the summer, the Model are expected to set up a Leinster championship clash with Kilkenny in Wexford Park but McDonald and Co have learned the hard way not to take anything for granted.

"Well we have to win the round-robin game first," he said.

"You have to pay a respect to them. Personally we got beaten by Antrim in an U-21 semi-final that we never should have been beaten in, according to everyone. I'm not looking at Kilkenny now.

"I'm sure Wexford Park will be buzzing that day if we do get there. But there's a lot of work. If we keep hitting wides like we did (against Offaly) we wouldn't have a chance against the likes of Kilkenny."

McDonald hit a vital goal on Sunday a minute before half-time as his haul of 1-6 guided Wexford to a 1-17 to 0-15 win with the Naomh Eanna man back to full fitness after a recent leg injury.

"It's all cleared up now. An odd auld thing, I got an infection of the blood," he explained. "It was an odd couple of days where you didn't know what was going on. It was a weird injury, not a very common one.

"I was in hospital for a couple of days. I was on an antibiotic just to flush it out as quick as possible."

Irish Independent

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