Davy Fitzgerald with his Wexford players after yesterday's game. James Crombie/INPHO
Fitz The Bill

'I'm not going to ask that question to Davy Fitz for a minimum of four to six weeks'

Wexford chairman wants to give the county’s hurling boss time to consider his future.

WEXFORD INTEND TO park discussions over Davy Fitzgerald’s future as the county’s senior hurling boss until early September in the wake of their 2019 championship exit yesterday.

A two-point loss to Tipperary saw Wexford narrowly miss out on a first All-Ireland final spot since 1996 in a game that saw them appear on the last four stage after a wait of 11 years.

It has been a memorable season for the county, the highlight being their first Leinster title success since 2004, but the future plans of Fitzgerald is unclear after his third year at the helm.

The Clare All-Ireland winner has overseen huge progress during his spell in charge but the role requires a major personal commitment given the travelling required from his home in Sixmilebridge.

“I’ll tell you how devastated I feel now, it’s unreal,” remarked Fitzgerald after yesterday’s game in Croke Park.

“Whether I can do it again, I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it for a while. I think I just need to stop. It’s been 18 years playing and 13 other… no breather.”

County board chairman Derek Kent revealed today that he will leave Fitzgerald have the time and space that he now requires.

“I’ll always be honest. I’ve a great working relationship with Davy Fitz, always have, always will and have a great friendship with him. I’m not going to ask that question to Davy Fitz for a minimum of four to six weeks.

“I know Davy on a personal level. It’d be very unfair of me to say to him what’s happening? I will sit down with Davy in four to six weeks. Whatever he decides to do, I’m going to respect it.

“Wexford hurling is indebted to Davy Fitz for what he’s done for the last three years. So there’ll be no issue if he wants to go away and pursue another career or go down some other track. He has so many friends in Wexford. Would they all be disappointed? Of course they will but at the end of the day it’s Davy’s decision.

“He’ll be supported whatever way he wants by the county board. The man needs a rest, he needs space. That’s being totally honest. It’s only fair to give him that space.”

Kent hailed the contribution of the Wexford players and management in providing a memorable hurling summer for their supporters while also highlighting Fitzgerald’s achievement within the budget for their flagship county side.

“The mojo is back in Wexford supporters. They’re extremely happy with the progress this year. Of course they’re disappointed they got beaten but we weren’t disappointed with the manner we were beaten. 

There’s been a great buzz for Wexford people. Being so closely involved with Davy and his backroom team, I could see the progression between Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3. While it was frustrating for the supporters last year, we went down against Clare and we didn’t play that well.

“But this year we did get a performance. It’s not often you get to the last weekend in July and you’re unbeaten. This year the progress was evident.

“People forget that we got to an All-Ireland semi-final yesterday on the back of a budget of €350,000. So whatever you say about management and counties, Davy does it within a budget. He’s budget conscious.

“To get to an All-Ireland semi-final and be beaten by two points on that budget is phenomenal, not alone every player is well looked after and every member of the backroom is well looked after.”

The county’s U20 hurling side now fly the flag for Wexford as they have an All-Ireland semi-final date with Tipperary in Nowlan Park next Sunday.

“Our U20s put up a great performance against Kilkenny. What I’ve seen out of Munster this year with Cork and Tipperary, they’re two class teams. Look we’ll give it a lash. We’re missing a few key people with injuries but it gives our supporters another day out.”

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