WHILE WEXFORD’S SEASON ended in the most disappointing fashion anyone could have imagined in Thurles yesterday, manager Liam Dunne was clear-minded enough to see their 2014 campaign in a positive light.
Taking on Clare in two memorable battles and emerging with victory was a clear highlight, while the win over Waterford in round two of the qualifiers was another peak.
Dunne was evidently devastated in the aftermath of their 24-point hammering at the hands of an in-form Limerick side, but the former All-Ireland winner must ensure that his side learns from defeat.
“It’s a stepping stone for our fellas and we’ll learn a lot from today. We might even learn more from today than we did last week [against Waterford],” said Dunne in Thurles. “But every day is different and it’s tough going on those fellas in there.
They are not on 250k a week or anything, but the effort I got from these guys was fantastic. There are a lot of positives, more so than negatives, to come out of that year. We’ll regroup and we’ll come again.”
Dunne had “no complaints” at being well beaten by a Limerick team who “brought an intensity to the game” that Wexford simply couldn’t match.
Many commentators have suggested that the Model County’s heavy schedule in recent times was evident in their lethargy at Semple Stadium, something Dunne had not foreseen as being a major issue.
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“No, not really, to be honest with you. We didn’t do much this week. The epic game against Clare, I suppose, probably took its toll. Limerick were by far the better team today.
“We have all played in Semple Stadium but when you go against a team that is fresh and is hurling the way Limerick did today – against a team whose first touch wasn’t good, and legs were heavy, and it wasn’t happening for them – it’s tough going. It’s a learning curve and we’ll be learning to come back from it.”
Dunne and his men have enjoyed their “great couple of weeks” but now go back to the drawing board for next year, while hoping that the county’s U21 side can progress against Galway in their All-Ireland semi-final.
People were talking about the last three weeks, but three years of work went into that,” said Dunne. “It’s tough on the players, it has been really tough.
“We were always playing second fiddle but you can’t take anything away from Limerick, they were outstanding today and are in an All-Ireland semi-final now. We’ll regroup and we’ll have them in Wexford Park in the national league and we’ll see where that will take us.”