The Clare man guided Wexford to a shock promotion to Division 1A of the Allianz league at his first attempt earlier this year as well as a first Leinster final place in nine years.
He said that the initial requirement, as outlined by the county chairman when he got the job, was to “get us promoted and into a Leinster final in three years”.
But while he baulked at bookmakers placing Wexford second last in the running for this year’s All-Ireland, he insisted they’re not at the top of that list either.
The 2013 All-Ireland winning Clare manager said a realistic aim for Wexford in their second season under his guidance is to retain their Division 1A status and to finish in the top three in the new five-team round robin series of the Leinster championship.
“In my head, I would love us to stay in Division 1A,” said Fitzgerald at the launch of the Bord na Móna Walsh, O’Byrne and Kehoe Cup pre-season competitions.
“That would be massive. Then you would like to get one of the three spots in Leinster. You have to have that as a goal. If you get into one of those top three spots, you are there or thereabouts for quarter-final day, you aren’t too far away.
“They are two things that I’ve said to myself I would love to do. We will try everything to do that. As regards winning stuff, if you are managing to do those things I’ve just said, then you are in with a chance of winning stuff. Let’s do the simple things first and see after that what happens. I’m not building castles in the sky because there is no point. I just don’t believe in saying we are going to win Leinster and to win the All-Ireland.
“I think that is a load of rubbish. I don’t think you can do that, we just take it game by game. We have a savage Leinster championship next year, we have Dublin first, Offaly second, Galway then, and then the mother of all battles against Kilkenny. I know what is coming.”
But Fitzgerald did appear to take offence to claims that Wexford are 25/1 All-Ireland outsiders and long shots for Leinster success too, despite reaching this year’s provincial decider.
“If I was going by Paddy Power we probably shouldn’t turn up at all next year, we have gone out to fourth favourites in Leinster and we are nearly second last in the All-Ireland,” said Fitzgerald.
“It is just funny that we have went out there (in the reckoning). In Leinster, you have Galway, Kilkenny, Dublin and ourselves. I think the only one below us for the All-Ireland is Offaly.”
Wexford’s Diarmuid O’Keeffe revealed earlier this year that they trained between 26 and 28 times in an intense first January under Fitzgerald.
“I thought we got a small bit more tired as the year went on,” reflected Fitzgerald.
“That is why we were later back training compared to other teams who were out (of the Championship) earlier. We started back on December 1. I’m hoping giving that extra three or four weeks will benefit them.”
Fitzgerald revealed Rory O’Connor, their teenage forward, underwent knee surgery yesterday and will miss most of the league.
He said sweeper Shaun Murphy is also managing an Achilles issue but should be okay for the league while attackers Jack Guiney and Paul Morris are nursing knocks.
James Breen has left the panel though dual player Colm Kehoe has thrown his lot in with the hurlers.
“I think there is a turnover of nearly 12 or 13 players,” said Fitzgerald.