Monday 17 June 2019

Wexford are a completely different animal from when I got them - Davy

High hopes: Davy Fitzgerald wants his Model men to stand up and be counted. Photo: Sportsfile
High hopes: Davy Fitzgerald wants his Model men to stand up and be counted. Photo: Sportsfile

Donnchadh Boyle & Michael Verney

There are several permutations and combinations in the offing for the Leinster Championship this weekend but Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald just wants his side to still be in the hunt after Saturday night.

The Model men currently occupy third spot in the table and welcome Kilkenny and the Sky Sports cameras to Wexford Park this weekend (7.0).

Should they retain that spot they'll move into the race for All-Ireland honours while they can also force themselves into the Leinster final picture with a win.

However, they can also still fall through the championship trapdoor. Defeat for them against the Cats and a win for Dublin against Galway will see their summer grind to a halt.

"I just want us to stand up and be counted," Fitzgerald said of the Kilkenny game in the wake of their win over Carlow.

"If we win or lose, fine, but stand up toe-to-toe. We've had a lot of meetings since I came down here and we've more than held our own.

Important

"We need to do it next week and let's see where we go. I just want Wexford to be in the championship come next weekend, it's very important and I really want that.

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"It's a long trip from Clare coming down here but I love coming down and I really want them to go forward if they can, although it's a big ask."

Fitzgerald's men will feel they should be in a more comfortable position than they currently find themselves. They conceded a late goal from a Sean Moran free that saw them leave Parnell Park with just a point, while they could also have beaten Galway in Salthill but Cathal Dunbar spurned a late goal chance.

Fitzgerald has come in for some criticism for their style of hurling.

Race horse trainer and Wexford supporter Jim Bolger insisted that their "short game is very energy-sapping and very risky. To me it makes no sense whatsoever".

However, Fitzgerald was unperturbed.

"Listen, there'll always be negative talk in life, there'll always be people that are negative and if it makes them feel better to be heard like that and I can help them, I'm delighted," Fitzgerald said.

"So I'd say 'belt away', it doesn't really concern me. My job is to get results and I think we've done pretty well, we've beaten all the top teams. There are teams we hadn't beaten in 10 years, we've done it.

"I think you could see by the crowds we have here. But am I going to have every person happy? No. And I know that and there's some of them out there and it's good for them to talk.

"They mightn't understand too much about the game but it's good for them to talk and I'd say, 'fair play, let them off'.

"I just have to concentrate on these bunch of boys and I love working with them."

Wexford bowed out at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage last year with defeat to Clare but Fitzgerald believes they are still improving.

"From where I got this team, they're a completely different animal. I just can't wait for the day where we string it together for longer, but we'll see what happens."

Irish Independent

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