Saturday 21 July 2018

'When Davy says something, the Wexford squad believe it' - Lee Chin

Joint captain Lee Chin and manager Davy Fitzgerald
Joint captain Lee Chin and manager Davy Fitzgerald

Michael Verney

When Davy Fitzgerald's arrival in Wexford was confirmed, the excitement among hurlers in the sunny south-east was palpable and some 15 months later Lee Chin insists they are still as captivated as ever by their charismatic manager.

The 2013 All-Ireland-winning manager did what few thought possible at the start of last year as the Model secured promotion to Division 1A before ripping up the history books to notch back-to-back wins over Kilkenny en route to a Leinster final appearance.

With doubts over whether Fitzgerald would commit to the six-hour round-trip from Sixmilebridge to Wexford in 2018, joint-captain Chin is delighted they have retained his services for another season and admits his unpredictability means the "Davy Factor" is alive and well in their squad.

"The Davy Factor is still there among us all," Chin said. "The relationship is just growing every year between Davy and the players, he's just a man that gets everyone firing and everyone buys into what he does so there is no changes so far.

"A lot of people might think he's predictable on the line as in what they're going to get out of him and what people might see on the sideline, it's not like that. He's very unpredictable in terms of what mood he comes in to training so you're always eager to see and he just keeps your interest levels to the highest.

"That's something Davy brings for us. He's not always the same person and that's what keeps us going and keeps us motivated as well. One day he could come in and be one person, the next day he could come in and be someone totally different and I think that's why I think the Davy Factor hasn't worn off yet."

Lee Chin. Photo: Sportsfile
Lee Chin. Photo: Sportsfile

With huge progression during 2017, the Faythe Harriers flyer reckons Fitzgerald is "two steps ahead of the game" in his second season but on evidence from their early-season games, Wexford will be persisting with the sweeper system that served them well last year.

While they are under instruction from Fitzgerald, players do have an input into any alterations to their style of play and despite some calls from supporters to revert back to a grip-and-whip style, they will be sticking to what they know and what they feel will lead to success.

"When Davy says something, we all believe in it and we all want to play within it and we want to make it work," the 25-year-old said. "I suppose this is Davy's thing and he introduced it to us and the fact that Davy Fitzgerald tells you, 'This is how we are going to play, because I feel this is the best Wexford can play'.

"When you hear things like that you want to do it, perfect it and try and be as good as you can within the system. That probably is the best way we can play at the moment. I don't think it's a hard sell to the players. I think once you just believe this is going to work for the team and this is going to help us win, that's what we all buy into.

"The fans are fully behind us winning. You'd hear that one chant every now and again from the stands, 'Just drive it in', but I don't think that's the way hurling has gone, it's not the way it is any more. It's massively possession-based.

"Usually you look at the team that has the most possessions, has the most shots, are the team that probably 90 per cent of the time win the game. It's just about playing within that system that little bit better. A lot of things let us down last year in terms of just skill-based stuff, like our first touch, or just switching off every now and again in terms of certain games."

Saturday offers a chance for silverware when they meet Kilkenny in the Walsh Cup final and a possible hat-trick of wins against the Cats but Chin expects them to be out for revenge. "You can imagine so. Kilkenny are gunning for anyone any day they go out, in my opinion," he said.

"I imagine that the day they play us, they'll feel it's time for some kind of revenge. I would imagine they would - Kilkenny have beaten us a lot over the last number of years and that's the attitude we went into the two or three games we played them last year."

Irish Independent

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