Davy Fitzgerald to lead Wexford hurlers in 2019
Manager has opted to stay on for a third successive year at helm of Wexford
Davy Fitzgerald is to remain on as Wexford senior hurling manager for a third successive year. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Davy Fitzgerald is to remain on as Wexford senior hurling manager for a third successive year.
Regarding his backroom set-up, Fitzgerald has said it will be much the same.
“My backroom team will be much the same with the possibility of just one change. It will be sorted over the coming weeks,” he added.
Fitzgerald’s decision to remain at the helm will be welcomed having taken time out since the All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to his native Clare to consider his future. It had been hoped that he would remain on for at least another year particularly after a delegation of players travelled to Clare on Saturday last in an effort to have him remain at the helm for 2019.
However, Fitzgerald, having given two years to the team, feels he can bring the side further. That’s one of the reasons he remains despite the particularly ardous journey involved, with up to an eight hour round trip on each occasion travelling to Wexford.
Wexford’s summer may not have been on a par with his opening year in charge having failed to qualify for the provincial final, losing out to Kilkenny by a single point, a game that left them so agonisingly close to a second successive provincial final. The Kilkenny defeat left them just a single point from qualifying for that second successive provincial final.
But it was the side’s insipid All-Ireland quarter-final display against Clare that immediately cast doubt on Fitzgerald’s appetitie for another year in charge, this despite the fact they retained their Division 1A status, defeating Galway in the league quarter-final but disappointingly losing out to Kilkenny in the semi-final at Innovate Wexford Park.
Fitzgerald has given fantastic commitment to Wexford and hurling in general, for his appointment re-energised the game in a county where they had been struggling to match up to the top sides.
Fitzgerald said: “Look, I was given a three year plan by Diarmuid (Devereux) on taking this job. I achieved the plan as then set out in one year, promotion to Division 1A, a Provincial Final, and getting the county into the top six. Now we will seek to take it to another level in 2019.
“People talk about progress. From when I took over the progress has been massive. We have beaten the top teams, the only team to beat Galway twice, beaten Limerick in league, and Dublin in a championship game for the first time in many years. That’s real progress, progress which we will work hard to build on,” he added.
Fitzgerald’s game plan, where he deployed a sweeper system, something alien to Wexford hurling, served its purpose for it helped make the side more competitive, bringing them the extra steps forward to enable them compete with the leading counties, while it also helped give the players a new-found confidence.
During his two years at the helm, Fitzgerald has tasted victories over all the leading counties in both league and championship, with Tipperary the sole exception – a hallmark of the progress the county has made in the short space of two years under his leadership.
While Fitzgerald has openly supported the round-robin system, he still believes that it should be a level playing field for every county.
“Look, it has to be a level playing field for all counties. Look at the results, Wexford,m Limerick, Offaly, all suffered from three successive weeks. Wexford losing out by a single point to Kilkenny, with Limerick suffering against Clare, while Offaly got hammered. There is a spare week there and it has to be utilised to give all counties a level playing field,” he added.
Now Wexford can look forward to 2019 with a degree of confidence with the colourful Fitzgerald at the helm.