Davy Fitzgerald may be serving a ban from all GAA activities but the Wexford manager is still keeping his finger on the panel’s pulse ahead of the county’s bid for the upcoming Leinster Hurling Championship, writes Brendan O’Brien.
Fitzgerald was handed the eight-week suspension for encroaching onto the field during Wexford’s Allianz Hurling League semi-final defeat to Tipperary at Nowlan Park last month and will not be able to patrol the sideline for his side's next two games.
Charged under Rule 7.2 (c) IIa, which covers any physical interference with an opposition player or team official, the ban also prevents him from partaking in any coaching duties or attending official county functions.
That means, most obviously, no training sessions ahead of their provincial quarter-final tie against either Meath or Westmeath on May 27 or, in the likely event that they win that, their semi-final engagement with Kilkenny on June 10.
However, the former Waterford and Clare manager has portioned out various roles to his backroom team for the duration of his absence and “from a distance is overseeing everything” according to star forward Conor McDonald.
“There’s not a whole lot to tell,” said the Wexford attacker when explaining that the ban has had no ill-effect on the team's preparations. “Davy has got his ban and to be fair to him if it was any other manager I don’t think they’d have been able to deal with it as well as he has.
“His organisational skills just clicked up another gear and it hasn’t affected the training schedule at all. We do have a serious backroom team as well with him and with him not appealing it, it was a bit of a statement that those lads can step up as well.”
Fitzgerald has continued to communicate with his players by phone, according to the Naomh Eanna man. “It could be one on one, that’s basically what it is really. The Whatsapp group is flying.”