Firman hopes Davy Fitz remains at Wexford hurling helm
By John Harrington
Wexford hurler Conor Firman says he’s hopeful that Davy Fitzgerald will stay on as manager for the 2019 season.
Fitzgerald is two years through a three-year term he agreed with the Wexford County board when he first took charge of the team ahead of the 2017 season, but has yet to confirm that he’ll still be holding the managerial reins in 2019.
“Yeah, a lot of the lads would be hoping that Davy would stay on,” said Firman.
“No-one really knows what he's going to do, but, as far as I know, he's still the Wexford manager so we'll be hoping he'll be back there next year.
“I enjoy working with Davy a lot. I suppose it's the fact that he's been there done that as a player and a manager with Clare in 2013. He has had experience and a wealth of knowledge of the game too.
“I think he's brought on Wexford with the League and in Championship as well, we got to the Leinster Final last year.
“We probably didn't perform the way we probably wanted to, but, you know, he's bringing us on in leaps and bounds, so it can only be positives really.”
Wexford’s Championship campaigns under Fitzgerald have now ended at the All-Ireland Quarter-Final stage for two years running, but Firman believes they have the quality in their ranks to challenge for silverware in the not too distant future.
“I suppose there is a sense of belief that we are up there with the top teams,” he said. “We probably went through a bit of a dip there, but with the U-21s the last few years, it just shows we are up there and have the hurlers.
“It's just about getting that performance on the day, that's something I think we need to work on.
“Being able to produce performances day in, day out. I think we wouldn't be far off All-Irelands, hopefully, if we did that.”
Wexford’s hopes of really breaking into the elite would surely be boosted if they could win this year’s Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U-21 Hurling Championship.
They’ll go into Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final as underdogs against a Cork team that looked really impressive when winning in Munster, and will do so without star forward Rory O’Connor who looks set to miss out with a knee injury.
“It’s a big set-back for Rory, I suppose,” admitted Firman. “He was going well there this year, sort of breaking onto the scene as well.
“It's unlucky for him, but it creates an opportunity for someone else to come into it. In the games at the weekend you saw how it was all about the panel.
“It's not just the 15. It's all about the lads who come in and having everyone around there encouraging. Whoever comes in will hopefully do a job and the rest of the lads will pull in too.
“Cork are a good team, you have to respect them. They have good players in and around the senior set-up, but, I think, you have to focus on your own game too, you can't get caught up in what the other team are, that takes from your own performance.
“We'll be focused on ourselves, really, and just see how it goes.”