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Friendship Is The Great Strength Of The Wexford Hurlers

Friendship Is The Great Strength Of The Wexford Hurlers

Lee Chin's mind goes back a few years to a hammering Wexford suffered against Kilkenny.

"I suppose after that day you ask yourself so many questions, there's so many levels that you've got to get up to be competing with these guys," Chin told Balls at the announcement of Sure as the official statistics partner of the GAA for 2018.

"Your mind starts questioning a lot of the stuff you're doing."

It's a mark of how far Wexford have progressed in recent years that after beating Kilkenny twice last season, they were so disappointed to take two losses against Brian Cody's team in this year's National League.

"It probably does say a little bit about us that we're disappointed being beaten by them.

"Nowadays, we've got the mindset going into games that we can beat any of them."

The Wexford joint-captain knows the team has made leaps since Davy Fitzgerald was appointed as manager in late 2016. An extra spring has come from the closeness of the Wexford group.

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I would say it's something which Davy massively encourages is us getting closer together as a team. Even how close Davy is with all of us, we really are like one big family there and it's so enjoyable to be involved in.

It's a topic which lights up Chin as he sits in a room overlooking the GAA's National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown. For a young hurler, the Wexford panel is an ideal growing medium.

lee chin wexford panel camaraderie

"It's one thing that we hugely pride ourselves on - how close we are. As friends and as teammates, we're very close.

"You know, when I first came into the Wexford panel and I don't mean to disrespect anyone but I wouldn't say that the team was as close as we are now.

"Believe it or not, I only stated to one of my mates the other day that for Rory [O'Connor] or Conor Firman or Jake Firman or Darren Byrne - these new guys that have come into the panel - it must be an unbelievable environment for them to come into because everyone is so friendly because, how do I say it, there's no real bad guys within the panel."

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In the hotbed of this year's Leinster Championship, which will see Wexford play games on four consecutive weekends, that friendship will undoubtedly be an asset for Chin and his teammates.

Exactly how it was cultivated, the 25-year-old is unsure. Though, he knows that honesty is a key ingredient. It's the egg in the cake.

I think it's just particular characters within the dressing room. It's not that they reinforce it, it's not that it was forced ever. We just all enjoy each other's company so much and we get on so well.

We're very honest with each other, that's one thing that I would say is why we're so close. Sometimes being too honest can upset some people at times. We're a very honest group of men. We're not afraid to call each other out on things, we're not afraid to ask questions of each other.

That just creates a huge amount of respect from each individual towards one another. I think that's maybe why we're so close.

There was a small element of it there in the past, not a huge amount. I don't know if it's come with a little bit of confidence, you feel like you're at a different level now that you can start asking more questions of each other and demanding more from each other.

That intimacy and the honesty which it allows is the oil in the Wexford engine as it strives towards winning Liam MacCarthy.

"There's nothing better in life than being able to push yourself towards something that you really, really want. We know ourselves that we're not going to win All-Irelands, you're not going to win big games by going to training and just not putting it all out here on the training field together.

"That's an incredible feeling, it just throws off a great buzz around a group of fellas, regardless of what it is that you're doing. If you're working as hard as you can towards one goal, it just gets so enjoyable because everyone knows you're putting in the work. I look around me and I see all the lads, same as myself, putting in the work."

Sure, Official Statistics Partner of the GAA, with the help of ambassadors, Wexford hurler Lee Chin and Dublin Footballer Ciaran Kilkenny, has today announced the most comprehensive ever season of GAA statistics with new technology, more stats and greater analysis than ever before.

The partnership, which enters its third year, promises to empower GAA fans with a deeper understanding of the components of success by breaking down individual and team statistics through conversation, head to head analysis and easy to digest infographics that explore and expose the numbers behind the performances that set the Championship alight.

Photo by Sportsfile

See Also: Meath GAA Club Pen Brilliant Tribute To Ireland U17 Goalkeeper After Yesterday's Controversy

PJ Browne
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