Sunday 18 August 2019

Davy to consider future

Boss ‘taking a bit of time to reflect’ after Waterford loss

A typically animated Davy Fitzgerald on the Páirc Uí Chaoimh sideline during Sunday's All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Waterford
A typically animated Davy Fitzgerald on the Páirc Uí Chaoimh sideline during Sunday's All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Waterford

Brendan Furlong

Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald will take time out before deciding on his future.

During an enthralling 15-minute press conference after Sunday's loss to Waterford in Cork, Fitzgerald admitted that, due to the cross-country commute involved, he will think about whether he can continue in the role for 2018.

Fitzgerald did not finish there as he attacked RTE pundits Michael Duignan and Henry Shefflin for their comments on the sweeper system deployed by both himself and Waterford boss Derek McGrath.

'I think Michael Duignan and Henry Shefflin had a go. Let me say straight out, Michael Duignan and Henry have never managed a team at a high level. The people need to wake up so they do.

'If they want the same one or two teams to play hurling and be successful that's fine. Myself and Derek are trying to bring teams to the fore that haven't been to the fore in a long time and I'm very strong about this,' he fumed.

Fitzgerald does feel some good analysts are on television but seems to feel personally aggrieved about specific double standards in coverage.

After being served with a twelve-week suspension for an altercation with Jason Forde in the league semi-final, Fitzgerald was roundly criticised.

However, Brian Cody's contact with a fourth official, Wexford's Justin Heffernan, against Waterford garnered little attention in comparsion.

'I just think RTE need to have a really good look at things. Everything has to be negative and when something had to be said a few weeks ago, they bottled it, one or two of them.

'It's easy to jump on the bandwagon when I got my suspension, five or six of them jumped on the bandwagon. It's easy to jump on one side for an easy target, that's how I feel, that's the story.'

When asked if that was in reference to the Cody incident, he said: 'No, I'm not saying what I'm talking about. I'm not going into it. I've just seen both sides of everything. I never said that.

'But do you know what guys, I want you to celebrate what Waterford did outside their 1-23. They won a quarter-final, they're in an All-Ireland semi-final, and do you know what, there's going to be more surprises in this championship.  

'I don't mind what they think. I only respect people I know have been on the line a good time.'

On his future role with Wexford, Fitzgerald said: 'I'm taking a bit of time to reflect and see what the story is. It's a long drive. I'll consult my family and see what the story is.

'My heart...I really f…ing love this. I don't know what's going to happen. Can I say anything? I'll take a bit of time, but I couldn't speak highly enough of them.

'You'll appreciate it's two hours and 45 minutes down. You leave at one or two in the day and you're not home until one or two at night. It's hard after an All-Ireland quarter-final to be like that.

'I have to thank ye as well. I give out about ye at times but ye have given us a fair break, and that means a lot. These guys deserve that publicity, they deserve that praise. That makes a difference. That's why I'm encouraging you.'

Despite the defeat, Fitzgerald insisted he was proud of his players and their effort over the 70-odd minutes.

'There were patches where we looked unreal. I just wish we had got going from the very start. I think we held back a small bit and let Waterford get two or three points of a lead,' he said.

'You make a few mistakes, you're going to pay the price. The goal was a massive turning point but we rallied in the second-half.

'I'm very proud of the lads, they gave me one hundred and ten per cent.

'They played some unbelievable hurling at times there today. Some of the scores we got were incredible.'

Fitzgerald, who has also managed both Clare and Waterford, has had a hugely impressive debut season at the helm in Wexford, leading the county back to the top tier of the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A for the first time since 2011, recording both league and championship victories over Kilkenny, and reaching a first Leinster final in almost a decade.

He believes that Wexford can scale even bigger heights in the future.

'The lads are going to re-group, have a look at it and go again,' he said.

'We've made a lot of progress this year, I'm fairly certain, but there's more to come. They've had a magnificent year. Out of 15 or 16 competitive games, we've only lost three. I'm so proud of my Wexford players, and the support we have got inside and out of Wexford, we appreciate it - unreal.

'We might have been beaten but I'm so extremely proud of those guys and there's a lot more in them. They'll grow and expand as we go on.

'I've enjoyed this year as much as I've enjoyed anything. I'm so happy with the players and the public in Wexford. It's been a breath of fresh air.'

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