Dunne delighted

Manager gets response from players

Brendan Furlong, Innovate Wexford Park

Published 09/07/2016 | 00:00

Liam Dunne watching Saturday's game with selector Aidan O'Connor in the background
Liam Dunne watching Saturday's game with selector Aidan O'Connor in the background
Lee Chin made a welcome return and a huge contribution

In the run-up to this game, Wexford manager Liam Dunne must have been concerned given the injury crisis that had hit his squad.

Wexford v Offaly SHC reaction

While Dunne welcomed back James Breen and Lee Chin, with Paul Morris also having recovered from injury, he still included seven of the Intermediate team which defeated Galway three days earlier in his substitutes, an indication of the injury crisis that Wexford carried into this game.

It was a mightily relieved Dunne who spoke after the game: 'I'm delighted for the team - it's been a long couple of weeks.

'We didn't put in a performance against Dublin, after the first 20 minutes. Today, Offaly took the advantage of the wind as well but look, I'm delighted with the performance.

'As I said earlier on, we were winning battles all over the field and we defended well. When it opened up in the second-half, we were able to take our scores. I'm pleased, very pleased.

'There was a very strong breeze as well but you factor in they had five or six games in a number of weeks. We were coming in cold as well.

'At the same time, I felt whatever team had the wind would be seven or eight points up at half-time and we went in two behind. We were well in the game. '

Regarding the controversial penalty goal that wasn't given, Dunne said: 'To be honest with you, it was never mentioned. We didn't even tell the players and none of the players even mentioned it. I didn't know myself until half-time until someone said we'd scored a goal and then I just saw some of the supporters getting onto Johnny Ryan coming in there now but we just got on with it.

'I was well pleased with the fact we were only two points down. Wexford Park, when the wind is blowing there it's really, really strong. I felt we were well in the game and needed to be at half-time. Not having a game for six weeks and we're down so many bodies as well.

'When you take the calibre of Andrew Shore, Aidan Nolan, Shane Tomkins, David Redmond, Shaun Murphy and Liam Ryan, I'm just delighted we got the win. You're having to replace these guys with talent and we're not over-burdened with a huge amount of talent down in Wexford,' he said.

'That's no disrespect to anybody - we have a small panel but look, we have an Intermediate team that won Wednesday night, we're in an Intermediate final Wednesday week and we have Minors going to a Leinster final tomorrow. It could be a very good couple of days for Wexford hurling.

'The objective today was to get into the second round of qualifiers, put in a performance and beat Offaly and that's what we did. Next week we'll be up against it as well but a win at this stage, at any level, is good.

'I see Martin Fogarty there, I wish him the very best in his new position but Carlow, Westmeath, Offaly, Antrim, all these counties being mentioned, but Martin Fogarty should be brought into Wexford as well.

'The G.A.A. should do that - we need as much help as we can get. He's a fantastic man and will do a great job but it will probably go on deaf ears anyway, what I'm saying,' Dunne added.

What could he bring to Wexford? 'We can take any help we can get. He's a very experienced man, he was involved with Brian Cody there on six All-Ireland wins. I met Martin a few times and he's a very passionate hurling man.

'Listening to him on the radio the other day, he was talking about the different pockets of hurling. He spoke about Roscommon and different places. We have pockets in Wexford here as well and we need help.

'If they're going to get this man to help four or five counties, I don't think it would be adding a whole lot by adding Wexford as well. But it is what it is, we'll carry on. Delighted with the win today and we'll move on to next week.'

How far are Wexford off that real elite group? 'If you had everybody available to you, at this stage, we'd be a match for anybody. It takes these fellas a little bit longer to develop physically and mentally. I'm shipping guys into this after coming out of Minor grade for the last number of years. People are expecting wonders out of these fellas.

'I just said it to them in the dressing-room there, particularly over the last two years, the transition has been phenomenal down here. When you mention all the guys injured, you have Keith Rossiter, Rory Jacob, Garrett Sinnott, Tomás Waters, all these guys have retired as well.

'It adds to it but when we get everybody back and rowing in the one direction, you'd never know what a Wexford man can do.'

As for the poor standard of officiating, Dunne said: 'That will be for the powers that be. I have enough of a job trying to look after Wexford and enough of people that know it all. The people that are critical, and we have lots of them, I wish they'd have one good long look in the mirror first, and see what they're actually trying to do to help this.

'Over the last two years particularly, it's been tough going. You're in here to do a job and do it to the best of your ability. We really did step it up from the Dublin game and to be fair to our County Board, Diarmuid (Devereux) and Margaret (Doyle), they've been fantastic.

'They could have said "to hell with this, we're going nowhere" and get rid of myself. But no, they've been one hundred per cent supportive and we've all pushed it together. We have another big battle next week.'

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