Monday 14 October 2019

Clare's Davy fitz the bill

All-Ireland winning boss to manage the Wexford hurlers

Flashback to February's National League meeting in Innovate Wexford Park as Liam Dunne congratulates the man who has succeeded him as Wexford hurling manager, Davy Fitzgerald
Flashback to February's National League meeting in Innovate Wexford Park as Liam Dunne congratulates the man who has succeeded him as Wexford hurling manager, Davy Fitzgerald

Brendan Furlong

New Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald was the unanimous choice of the six-person committee charged with finding the Model county's new boss.

When his name was put before a special County Board meeting in the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy on Friday night by County Chairman, Diarmuid Deveruex, he received the unanimous approval of club members, who turned out in large numbers for the most crucial meeting of the Board for many months.

The appointment of Fitzgerald, who stepped down from the Clare job just two weeks ago, was received with acclaim by the club delegates who showed their support with a huge turn-out despite the meeting being called at less than 24 hours notice.

The management selection committee of Diarmuid Devereux, Margaret Doyle (Secretary), Dermot Howlin, Philip Howlin, George Foley and John Conran had met Fitzgerald in Portlaoise on Thursday, where he accepted the role provisionally, pending County Board approval.

Fitzgerald had an earlier meeting last week with officers where he took away their proposals and interest in having him take on the role as Wexford Senior hurling manager.

Diarmuid Devereux told the meeting that when they met with Davy Fitzgerald they sold him the projects for Wexford hurling to see if he could sell back a passion and commitment to deliver on this. In the end they decided he was the man for the job.

Devereux said they asked him to leave the meeting, after which it was decided to offer him the post. On his return to the meeting he accepted the position.

They all had agreements which were reached going forward.

The appointment, the Chairman said, is for a three-year period with a review after two years. Tellingly, he added that he (Fitzgerald) spent less on Clare winning an All-Ireland two years ago than was spent on Wexford this year.

He also said that certain members of his Clare backroom team will also come into the loop.

'It was around 9 p.m. on Thursday night that he accepted the post as per the conditions laid down,' Devereux added.

'I welcome Davy to Wexford. He is an ideal fit for our young Senior hurling squad and I'm excited about the prospects for the future. The initial aim will be for Wexford to move from Division 1B of the National Hurling League up to Division 1A, and then to build on that.'

The Chairman said that two of Davy's backroom team from Clare will be joining him, along with the strength and conditioning person. He will have J.J. Doyle as one of his selectors, and Doyle will also manage the Intermediate team, which he sees as a link with the Senior squad for the development of players with a view to bringing them through to Senior status, setting his sights on provincial and All-Ireland titles in this grade.

He will also have a second Wexford person, a former inter-county player, as a selector, with his identity yet to be revealed.

Thanking Liam Dunne for his contribution to Wexford hurling both as a player and manager, Ger Carthy (Our Lady's Island) went on to welcome Davy Fitzgerald to County Wexford.

It's a momentous endorsement of Wexford hurling that a person of the calibre of Davy Fitzgerald would take up the post, he added.

'I would also like to pay tribute to the County Chairman and his committee for their work in attracting such a person to the county. Now we all need to put this together and deliver for Wexford hurling.'

Davidstown-Courtnacuddy delegate, Andrew Egan, endorsed those sentiments.

The County Chairman said Davy Fitzgerald is the ideal choice. He has coached at Limerick I.T. and has managed students who are sitting important exams, managed them to fit into his system, and fully understands the demands now on young players, both as students and inter-county hurlers.

Questioning the transparency of the selection process, Oulart-The Ballagh delegate Ger Doyle asked why was Liam Dunne brought into an interview with the committee knowing he was not getting the job, a situation which also applied to another Oulart man.

The Chairman said they had 28 expressions of interest, with five in Wexford among them.

This was whittled down, and he added that Liam Dunne was adamant he wanted an interview.

This was a squeaky-clean process, with everyone that came into the room given the same respect. With regard to Frank Flannery, he was never in contention for the Wexford job and never sought an interview, as he made it quite clear he want to get on with the Oulart-The Ballagh post.

'Why any candidate would ring another candidate telling him he had no objection of him entering the race is bizarre, particularly when that candidate had not expressed an interest in the position,' the Chairman added.

On the proposal of Philip Howlin, seconded by George Foley, Davy Fitzgerald was unanimously ratified as Wexford Senior hurling manager.

'We send out a message of welcome from Wexford to Davy Fitzgerald,' said the Chairman.

Wexford People