Man­ager com­mits for an­other year with Wex­ford hurlers

Enniscorthy Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - BREN­DAN FUR­LONG

DAVY FITZGER­ALD has re­vealed that he is re­main­ing on as Wex­ford Se­nior hurl­ing man­ager for 2018 while it is also hoped that he will re­main in the role for the fol­low­ing sea­son.

Af­ter just one sea­son in the job in a county that be­came in­fected by his en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm in the job, Fitzger­ald re­vealed that af­ter much soul search­ing he is re­main­ing at the helm for an­other sea­son.

The Sixmile­bridge na­tive had re­quested some time to weigh up whether he would re­main at the helm, prompt­ing spec­u­la­tion that he was in­ter­ested in the va­cant Dublin job, al­though that is be­lieved not to be the case.

How­ever, the for­mer Clare and Water­ford man­ager, had to think about the toll that a re­turn car jour­ney of more than five hours from his home to the Ferns Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence was hav­ing, while also hav­ing some per­sonal com­mit­ments to con­sider.

‘I needed some time out but now I’ve de­cided to re­main on as man­ager.

‘The County Board has been very pa­tient and bril­liant with me in giv­ing me the time to ar­rive at this de­ci­sion.

‘As re­gards my back­room one can take it will be very much the same as this year.

‘As I’ve just ar­rived at the de­ci­sion I will be dis­cussing the back­room over the next few days but I ex­pect it to be the same, very much so,’ he said.

Fitzger­ald’s back­room team is likely to be the same as those he had this year, J.J. Doyle, Seoirse Bulfin, Paraic Fan­ning and P.J Ryan.

In­ci­den­tally Doyle will take charge of UCD this year for the Fitzgib­bon Cup, re­plac­ing Nicky English who did not seek a re­turn to the post.

When ap­pointed to the Wex­ford role last Oc­to­ber, the 45-year-old for­mer Clare man­ager had to con­tem­plate life in Di­vi­sion 1B, but he suc­ceeded in awak­en­ing the sleep­ing gi­ants, by gain­ing pro­mo­tion to Di­vi­sion 1A and qual­i­fy­ing for a league semi-final where they lost out to Tip­per­ary, com­ing af­ter a fa­mous quar­ter-final vic­tory over arch ri­vals Kilkenny in Nowlan Park.

Fitzger­ald turned down the Wex­ford job twice say­ing it took re­peated ad­vances from County Board Chair­man, Diar­muid Dev­ereux, be­fore he was even­tu­ally per­suaded to re­turn to in­ter-county man­age­ment, hav­ing shortly be­fore stepped aside af­ter five years in charge of his na­tive Clare.

Fitzger­ald led Clare to the All-Ire­land ti­tle in 2013, while on tak­ing the Wex­ford job en­tered his 28th con­sec­u­tive sea­son in the elite level of hurl­ing, hav­ing first bro­ken into the Clare panel as a young goal­keeper in 1990.

He ac­com­plished the two year goal set out for him in Wex­ford by Dev­ereux within the first six months, pro­mo­tion back to Divi- sion 1A of the league and bring­ing Wex­ford back into the provincial final with their clash against Gal­way at­tract­ing a record 62,000 crowd.

Dur­ing that six months, Fitzger­ald’s led Wex­ford had some won­der­ful ac­co­mopol­ish­ments, be­ing the only county to record a vic­tory over now All-Ire­land champions, Gal­way, record­ing a league vic­tory in Salthill for the first time, de­feat­ing Lim­er­ick in their open­ing league game, while also dis­miss­ing Kilkenny from the provincial cham­pi­onship ti­tle race.

With the Wex­ford hurl­ing cham­pi­onship now at the busi­ness end of af­fairs, Fitzger­ald and his back­room will be tak­ing in club ac­tion over the com­ing week­ends as they seek out new tal­ent to bol­ster their squad.

Wex­ford man­ager Davy Fitzger­ald be­fore the All-Ire­land Se­nior hurl­ing cham­pi­onship quar­ter-final against Water­ford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

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