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A novel Tipp-Wexford hurling collision and Davy Fitz's efforts paying off

Seamus Callanan goes up against his old college manager next Sunday.

Seamus Callanan was at Croke Park today to launch the 2017 Kellogg's GAA Cúl Camps.
Seamus Callanan was at Croke Park today to launch the 2017 Kellogg's GAA Cúl Camps.
Image: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

WEXFORD HAVE PROVIDED the richest narrative so far in the 2017 hurling season, harnessing the energy of their new boss Davy Fitzgerald to hit the ground running.

They clinched promotion from Division 1B and then claimed a milestone win over Kilkenny in Nowlan Park, the first time a Wexford team had won on that patch on Noreside in six decades.

Their next test is tougher again as they will front up next Sunday against Tipperary, the current best team in the country.

Tipperary’s leading attacker Seamus Callanan has been observing Wexford’s progress and is fully aware of their manager’s capabilities from their time working together for the Limerick IT Fitzgibbon Cup side.

“I played four years in there. I was actually injured for one full year and I was injured for half of another one.

“I did my collarbone and broke my ankle another year. It was a pity because I actually missed out on two Fitzgibbon Cup finals. Now we didn’t win them, but I might have helped a small bit!

“Davy was top-class. The set-up he brought into it was just so professional and his approach is brilliant, just a really good motivator as well. He was coaching as well at the time and he was top-class at that as well.

“He really primes everyone up to play at inter-county level. He just lives for hurling. It’s great to see him involved, it’s great to see him to go in there with Wexford this year and they’re obviously benefiting an awful lot from it.”

Callanan believes Fitzgerald’s relentless energy is a key ingredient in his relationship with players.

“I’d say it’s the effort he puts in himself. Players see how committed he is to it, what he’s willing to do, and the time he’s willing to put into it.

“You have the thing that you want to repay his efforts. He’s very good like that. He just loves hurling so much and he has put in a serious professional set-up in Wexford and it’s paying off. I’m sure he has the Wexford boys hopping for the weekend.”

It’s a novel league semi-final tie as Tipperary and Wexford have scarcely crossed paths in recent years. Apart from challenge games collisions, Callanan has only one match day experience to draw upon.

“We played them in 2010 in Thurles in the qualifiers, that was the only time I played them.

“They had a great win against Kilkenny and won against Galway up in Pearse Stadium as well so that’s massive progress.

“They’re going to be a very tough challenge at the weekend. It’s another team that are serious contenders thrown into the mix, it makes for a great summer.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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