There can be no denying that Davy Fitzgerald has given his all to Wexford over the past three years.
Countless hours have been spent on the road travelling from Clare to the Model County for training sessions while every aspect of his life has revolved around the role.
It’s no wonder that an exhausted and somewhat broken Davy Fitzgerald sat before the media following Wexford’s defeat to Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final last July wondering if he could keep it all going.
Eventually, he recommitted to the Wexford cause but not before he had conversations with the players who have come to view Fitzgerald as much more than a manager.
While Lee Chin and co. wanted Davy Fitzgerald the boss to stay on, they wanted Davy their friend to do what was best for him.
“The conversations I would have had with him, I wouldn’t have been totally biased towards Wexford”, Chin stated.
“Obviously I want him to stay, I would have been planting little seeds every now and again. But it was more to do with a friend, and a friendship. I wanted him to be happy in his decision.
“For him to come back to Wexford, I didn’t want to force him, or convince him to come back to Wexford when I was thinking I don’t know if it’s what he really wants to do with his life.
“I was just trying to support him with regards with whatever he wanted to do that I’d back him, and I’d 100 per cent respect his decision, and I’d never fall out with him over it. That was more or less the conversations we had.”
A relationship like the one Davy has with his players is not always the norm and Chin explained it was Davy’s sense of humour that allowed the friendship to occur.
“As a player, you’re always going to wait for the manager makes that type of move. As a character, I’d always try and have a bit of craic within the panel and I found I did always try and have a bit of craic with Davy and in fairness, he’s deadly at it himself. I think it’s just through things like that.
“It’s Davy that creates that relationship just through how passionate he is about his players and the guys he’s with every day. It’s just the kind of man he is, that’s the type of relationship he wants with players.
“He’d be unbelievably passionate about what we’re going to do for the year and plans but then he’d throw in a one-liner that’s just funny to make people laugh.
“It makes you a bit more relaxed in the room with him. He’s very good at controlling a room, if he wants the mood to be aggressive and intense, it’s going to be that way, and if he wants it to be a bit more relaxed, he’s well capable of that too.
“If a player has an opportunity to get to know a player like that on a more friendship level, I’d do it anyway because I like having that relationship with him anyway and a lot of the lads in the panel do too.”
With Fitzgerald at the helm, Wexford fans have a lot to be excited about heading into the 2020 season. Their first Leinster title in 15 years boosted the county enormously and on a personal level, winning his first All-Star award capped off a positive year for Chin.
“It was unbelievable. For my family and my club, it’s incredible. They were so proud. Obviously I was happy myself to receive an All-Star. It’s something as a kid you look up to your heroes that are receiving these All-Stars.
“Just to be up there with the rest of the gang that were there on the night, it was just an honour to be there side-by-side with such great hurlers in the country as well.”
The target for Wexford must now be to build on that provincial success. With a young team of their talent, there is no reason the side cannot challenge for the Liam MacCarthy Cup but Chin is keen to take the journey one step at a time.
“I just think after certain years where you have a bit of success, you can only start thinking in that bracket. It’s very usual for teams to just come out of nowhere and just win an All-Ireland, it has happened but it doesn’t usually happen.
“I think Wexford are one of those teams that we were making certain steps towards that over the last couple of years. After this year, winning Leinster, you’d imagine that you’d be thinking we have a chance now to win an All-Ireland.
“But it’s years like this year, getting over a provincial final that lead you to that believe you’re capable of those things.”
Wexford’s Lee Chin, Limerick’s Diarmaid Byrnes, Kilkenny’s Paul Murphy and Tipperary’s Barry Heffernan were at Aer Lingus Hangar 6 at Dublin Airport this morning where Aer Lingus, in partnership with the GAA & GPA, unveiled a one-of-a-kind customised playing kit for the New York Hurling Classic which takes place at Citi Field in New York on November 16th.
Aer Lingus will once again be the Official Airline of the event and will be responsible for flying the four teams to New York. Aer Lingus is Ireland’s only 4-Star airline and has been involved in the Hurling Classic on three previous occasions where it has been played at Fenway Park in 2015, 2017 & 2018.