Seamus McEnaney’s own hunger and the enthusiasm of Wexford were what convinced him to succeed David Power.
The former Monaghan and Meath manager’s three-season agreement with the Model County was confirmed yesterday, the Corduff man becoming the county’s second high-profile appointment this month after Davy Fitzgerald.
“First of all, people are going to compare me and Davy but I’ve been four years out of the inter-county scene," he told the Irish Examiner. "I’m fresh and ready to go. I’m mad for action, the hunger is there. This summer was the first time I really felt like going back into management. I was going to championship matches and you just know what’s inside you, that ‘f***, you’d like to be back in this job again’.
“The reality for me is Wexford ticks different boxes for me especially personally. Nothing beats playing football but the only thing that comes close is being in the dressing room with that bunch of players. I’ve been fortunate to do punditry with RTÉ and I’ve enjoyed it but it doesn’t tick that box and the adrenalin of being involved in a team environment. I’m bursting to go.”
McEnaney has been bowled over by the reaction he received in recent days, particularly from the “seven or eight” players he spoke to. “It’s a testament to them that nothing leaked out over the past four or five days. They’re realistic and they’re enthusiastic.
“Most importantly, I’ve managed against quite a few of them and I know there is real talent there. We also need to remember they won the U21 Leinster title in 2011 and not enough of those players have come through. Wexford are in Division 4, they are there for a reason. It’s a challenge for me and the backroom team but I’ve been in these trenches before. The facilities in Ferns are great too.”
McEnaney faces a four-hour commute from his home outside Carrickmacross to Wexford’s centre of excellence. Although he has a number of business interests in Dublin, the distance was the only doubt he had about taking the position, he says. “The Wexford people who I’ve spoken to have come across as nice and passionate about their football. They’ve been very enthusiastic about getting me down the road. They wanted me and I had the hunger. The one and only obstacle was the travel. If it was 30 minutes down the road, my mind would have been made up a long time ago.”
Like Fitzgerald, McEnaney paid compliments to the infectious character of county chairman Diarmuid Devereux. “My wife was listening to Davy Fitzgerald’s radio interview last night (Tuesday) and said ‘I thought that was you’. The chairman has been very convincing and enthusiastic.”
McEnaney has begun the process of putting his backroom team together but is not confirming names just yet. “I hope to have it completed within the next 10 days.”
As for whether he and Fitzgerald will cross swords on the matter of dual players, McEnaney said: “Davy is a huge, brilliant appointment for Wexford. He’ll be a great credit to Wexford and he will want to do his mighty best for Wexford hurling and I will want to do my mighty best for Wexford football. I’m sure we’ll meet and have a chat, nothing more than that.”
McEnaney’s appointment was greeted positively by Wexford’s Adrian Flynn on Twitter: “In fairness, that's about the best you could hope for, very good appointment for Wexford football.”
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