'We'll be back back' vows Davy
'Hard reflection' promised after Cats cruise to easy win
Wexford Manager Davy Fitzgerald has promised 'hard reflection' following his side's nine-point Allianz Hurling League semi-final loss to arch rivals Kilkenny, but he added with a defiant tone, 'we will be back'.
Wexford seemed to be cruising when storming into a 1-2 to 0-1 lead inside the opening six minutes in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday, but thereafter they were bullied all over the pitch by a Kilkenny side showing the greater appetite.
This was demonstrated in the fact that between the sixth and 31st minutes they outscored the home side by 1-11 to nil, with Wexford failing to register from play during the opening half.
Wexford were having their second huge game in eight days, while Kilkenny had an extra week to prepare, but Fitzgerald felt that it did not have any bearing on the result or the display.
'Kilkenny absolutely bossed us today. They were one hundred per cent the better team, they showed the greater appetite, and that is not acceptable to us,' Fitzgerald said.
'Our performance did not reflect the work that has been put in. We pride ourselves in effort and composure but that was all missing today, as for some reason we were totally flat.
'We turned over too much ball, while Kilkenny also won most of the dirty ball which wasn't good enough today.'
Clearly dejected, not so much by the defeat itself but by the manner of it, Fitzgerald was at his lowest for some time, having also left his unbeaten record at Innovate Wexford Park since taking charge behind him.
'I'm bitterly disappointed as I feel we let the Wexford supporters down. The players inside there feel the same way, they are devastated,' he added.
Fitzgerald did not need much prompting to expand on the Wexford display.
'We started the first-half, controlled the opening ten minutes, then the same in the second-half, but apart from that they bossed us.
'They wanted it more than us, that's the bottom line. We were on top in those periods, but we then stood back and allowed Kilkenny to run at us, and they took us apart.'
When asked about individual displays, particularly from Rory O'Connor, Fitzgerald replied: 'This is about more than Rory. Yes, he hurled well in the second-half, but it's the overall team performance, that's so disappointing.
'I thought Kilkenny were as intense as they could be out there today. Our intensity was not there but I wonder how much more intensity Kilkenny can bring to their game. But I think we learned a valuable lesson today. I did anyway.'
This is not a time for excuses, but Fitzgerald will be hoping that his injured players, Jack Guiney, Eoin Moore, Shane Tomkins and Liam Og McGovern, will be back for the championship, and that Damien Reck keeps clear of further problems, as he can ill afford any further injury setbacks if they are to make an impact on the provincial championship.
'Having said that, I'm delighted to see the way the Kilkenny game has evolved,' Fitzgerald said.
'They are more about possession now, and have moved away from their traditional style to a huge extent. Looking ahead we will be back and looking forward to meeting them again in the championship.'
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody felt the result will have no bearing on their championship meeting.
'That will bring a reaction from Wexford as they will be anxious to respond to that defeat. It will make them more determined,' he said.