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Wexford Players' Gesture To Davy Fitz Made Staying On No-Brainer

Wexford Players' Gesture To Davy Fitz Made Staying On No-Brainer
By PJ Browne

On a weekend in mid-August, the majority of the Wexford panel hopped into a convoy of cars and headed for Clare.

Sixmilebridge, specifically Davy Fitzgerald's house, was the destination. The objective: convince him to remain on a Wexford manager for the third year.

"We actually carpooled!" said Lee Chin at the launch of the Fenway Hurling Classic at Croke Park on Thursday.

"It was kind of spur of the moment. We nominated a couple of cars to go and packed them in - some of the stuff that was going on was probably a bit illegal but we got down there and home safe enough.

"Unfortunately, a couple of lads couldn't come down but we got the majority of the panel down to him. The rest of the guys did their bit by giving him a call or sending him a message to show their appreciation.

"We took it upon ourselves as players to really show him what he means to us. We really appreciate him in Wexford and we love working with him.

"We thought, lookit, it's the least that we could have done it get down to see him and in some ways we wanted to sympathise with him: we understand his situation with travel and his other commitments and his own personal life.

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"Obviously, we were being somewhat selfish in saying that, 'Look, we want you back.'

"I think Davy is the kind of man who would never commit to something that his heart is not in."

For Fitzgerald - despite everything living in Clare and managing Wexford entails - it wasn't hard to strap in for another year.

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"They’re a great bunch of guys," said the Clareman.

Absolutely delighted to stay on with them. When you’ve a good few of them arrive down to your house, mad for the road, it was an easy enough decision at the end of the day.

They gave me 24 hours’ notice, fair play to them. So I couldn’t go any place! They knew that there was something else that I could have done besides managing the team. They just wanted to let me know how they felt.

Listen, I’m not going to keep all of them, there’s no way a manager can keep 36 guys happy. But in fairness, we get on very well.

I was surprised to see them all come down. The lads that couldn’t come down texted me. 99.9% of the lads were in touch with me, so it was nice to see.

I suppose I’m going into nearly year 30 at the top level. It’s a lot of stuff, it’s a lot of years.

Travel, that eight-hour round trip between Sixmilebridge and Ferns, is a huge drain on the 47-year-old's time but one he feels is worth it in the end.

"120 trips up and down to Wexford is a lot of trips. There was one or two times last year, when the weather was really bad and I met four crashes on one day there, going up the dual carriageway, it was carnage.

"You do wonder at times, you’re not getting back until one o’clock at night. You can get tired. But I really enjoy it. I love going down to Ferns, I love meeting the caretaker Seamus, sit down and have a cup of tea. Then do my stuff. It feels good. You get over the driving. There’s nothing like being involved in the middle of it."

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"I've done the trip myself two or three times down to Clare in the last year and I wouldn't fancy doing it any more than that," said Chin.

It says a lot about the man himself, his commitment levels; he never misses a session, he's always the earliest there and one of the last to leave.

We had to take all that into consideration going down to see him, knowing that we were asking him to come back to face this kind of travel for another year.

He's a serious professional in what he does and he'd never look at that as a hindrance on his performance when he gets to the training session with us - he's always Davy.

Fitzgerald was hugely disappointed with the manner of Wexford's defeat to Clare in that quarter-final. It was a performance which he felt lacked the intent of their best showings. He knows that fatigue had set in by that point in the season - their edge had been blunted - and that tweaks will have to be made for 2019.

Still, he has bundles of hope.

"Personally, I was delighted to see Limerick win. I can say that with my hand on my heart. I was delighted to see them win for hurling. Does it give everyone a chance? Yeah. It does.

"You take it, Clare, Galway, Limerick, Tipp, Kilkenny. We’ve have five different winners over the last six years. That’s good for hurling.

"If we have another winner again, if it happened to be Wexford, how bad!"

The GAA and the GPA in conjunction with Aer Lingus and Fenway Sports Management (FSM) today officially launched the Fenway Hurling Classic 2018 which will take place in Boston on November 18th .

All-Ireland hurling champions Limerick will compete for the Players Champions Cup in a Super 11’s format tournament against reigning holders Clare and new contenders in Cork and Wexford.

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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