On the final League Sunday of the year on RTE last night, the panel of Henry Shefflin, Cyril Farrell and Liam Sheedy lamented that the story of the Wexford hurlers this season had already become all about Davy, after the furore and reaction to his incursion onto the pitch during the Allianz League semi final against Tipperary last weekend.
Davy was given an eight week ban for the incident, which would mean he wouldn't be on the sideline for the Leinster semi final against Kilkenny in Wexford Park, providing Wexford can win their quarter final against one of the Leinster Round Robin teams. The assumption was this story would go on indefinitely with the county board appealing to the Central Hearings Committee. It's the kind of distraction that would take the focus off the incredible progress the team have made since
Now though, it appears this won't happen. A statement from the Wexford County Board this morning says they won't appeal the decision, despite feeling that it is "harsh" and there is precedent there for the penalty to be nullified. The statement makes it clear the decision was Davy's and was "taken in the broader interests of the game and of the senior hurling team".
It's interesting that the fears of the RTE panel last night was something that was also taken into account by Davy and the county board. The last thing Wexford need at the moment is for them to become secondary to the Davy Fitzgerald circus and this has obviously been a consideration based on the last line of the statement.
In accepting the penalty, the focus of attention can now turn elsewhere and the GAA family in Wexford can return to strengthening our games and our teams.
The Wexford County Board statement in full:
The County Board, and all Wexford GAA supporters, are fully supportive of Davy Fitzgerald as our senior hurling manager. Wexford people fully understand that Davy brings 100% commitment and a real passion to his coaching and it is this which makes him such an outstanding manager. We are very proud of the tremendous work he and his backroom team have put into the senior hurling squad. That work is already bearing fruit with promotion to Division 1A achieved and a real spring in the step of all GAA followers in the county.
“It is considered that the penalty imposed for Davy’s pitch encroachment is harsh and that arguments could be made for a lessening of the penalty. Indeed, it is not unknown for other similar penalties to have been nullified after appeals and legal processes. However, this decision has been reached after detailed discussion with Davy and is being taken in the broader interests of the game and of the senior hurling team. In accepting the penalty, the focus of attention can now turn elsewhere and the GAA family in Wexford can return to strengthening our games and our teams.