McLough­lin named as new Se­nior foot­ball man­ager

Wexford People - - SPORT - BREN­DAN FUR­LONG Sports re­porter

WEX­FORD SE­NIOR hurlers have been given a sig­nif­i­cant boost with the re­turn of Pádraig Fo­ley to their squad for the 2018 cam­paign.

Fo­ley, who took time out last sea­son, has re­cently come back to the Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn fold, help­ing them win the Intermediate ‘A’ foot­ball ti­tle and qual­ify for the Intermediate hurl­ing semi-fi­nal. His pres­ence will give man­ager Davy Fitzger­ald more op­tions in defence.

How­ever, out of the squad is the ex­pe­ri­enced An­drew Shore, who is set to un­dergo an op­er­a­tion to deal with his long-stand­ing shoul­der prob­lem, which will keep him out of the game for seven months, while other no­table omis­sions from the squad are An­drew Kenny of Buf­fers Al­ley and Naomh Eanna’s Eoin Conroy.

Fitzger­ald has given a vote of con­fi­dence to the ma­jor­ity of the play­ers who lit up the hurl­ing sea­son, with two fa­mous vic­to­ries over Kilkenny in league and cham­pi­onship.

In ad­di­tion, they were the only side to claim a vic­tory over even­tual All-Ire­land cham­pi­ons, Gal­way, on that fa­mous league day in Salthill, a first-ever vic­tory for the Model county at the sea­side venue.

Oth­ers to de­part from the squad are Shane O’Gor­man (Adamstown), Nicky Kir­wan (Ou­lart-The Bal­lagh), and Naomh Eanna duo Pádraig Doyle and Dar­ragh Hughes.

While Fo­ley was al­ways go­ing to gain a re­call once be­com­ing avail­able again, cham­pi­onship form has seen the in­clu­sion of three new­com­ers, play­ers who have been con­tin­u­ally im­pres­sive for their re­spec­tive clubs.

Oyle­gate-Glen­brien’s Jamie Reck, who was so in­flu­en­tial in their im­pres­sive cham­pi­onship run, is in­cluded, along with Con­nal Flood (Clough­bawn), one of the county’s bright young play­ers.

And there is also a de­served call-up for this year’s Un­der-21 full­back Dar­ren Byrne (Black­wa­ter), who showed real qual­ity de­spite the de­feat to Kilkenny, while also be­ing out­stand­ing for his club.

Re­gard­ing the prospects of Liam Og McGovern, Fitzger­ald is adamant the player will not be rushed back, af­ter his sec­ond cru­ci­ate op­er­a­tion in the space of twelve months.

‘Liam Og is un­der­go­ing re­hab but he will not be rushed. Time is of the essence and he will be given the nec­es­sary time to make a full re­cov­ery,’ Fitzger­ald said.

While wel­com­ing the new cham­pi­onship for­mat, which gives Wex­ford two home games, Fitzger­ald be­lieves that it’s go­ing to make for a hugely com­pet­i­tive sea­son in both leage and cham­pi­onship.

How­ever, there is no doubt that Fitzger­ald is look­ing for Wex­ford to be com­pet­i­tive, be­fore sup­port­ers start rais­ing ex­pec­ta­tions.

‘We need to be com­pet­i­tive first and fore­most, then look to­wards get­ting re­sults to keep us in Di­vi­sion 1A, be­fore go­ing on to con­tem­plae the cham­pi­onship. Be­ing com­pet­i­tive is our ini­tial goal and hope­fully the re­sults will fol­low,’ he added.

Mean­while, Wex­ford have named for­mer Kil­dare in­ter-county foot­baller, Paul McLough­lin, to suc­ceed Sea­mus McE­naney as the new Se­nior foot­ball man­ager.

Now res­i­dent in Ross­lare, McLough­lin played with the Li­ly­whites in three Le­in­ster fi­nals while he has also man­aged at club level in the county.

Hav­ing also man­aged in Water­ford, his other club in­volve­ments in­clude Kilmore and Vol­un­teers. In the past he also served in the Wex­ford back­room team with Ja­son Ryan and Ai­dan O’Brien.

McLough­lin has been handed a three-year term, with one of his selec­tors be­ing Mark Roche (Kilmore), who served with him when he was Wex­ford Mi­nor foot­ball man­ager.

At this stage the search con­tin­ues to com­plete the back­room team, but at least the man­ager is in place be­fore the con­clu­sion of the Se­nior club cham­pi­onship.

De­fender Pádraig Fo­ley will be mak­ing a wel­come re­turn to the Wex­ford Se­nior hurl­ing squad for 2018.

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