Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald wouldn’t accept that the Covid controversy during the week was an excuse for their 10-point Allianz NHL Division 1 defeat to Kilkenny at UPMC Nowlan Park.
“Listen, as we’ve said in Wexford, the HSE do their job; we do ours. We’ve no excuses here in Wexford. We went out and we played today and you know what, it’s important we stick to hurling and not side issues, that’s all I’ll say. That’s all I’m interested in and the Wexford lads are interested in. Nothing else. At the end of the day, we’re here to play hurling and we got well beaten today.
“And we take our beating gracefully. We know the better team won; we’ve no excuses. That’s the way it is. Any other sideshows, we’ve no interest. We’ll just do the hurling side of things and let other professionals do what they’re good at doing.”
The Clare-native also says it will make for a very interesting summer, with the winners of Wexford and Laois meeting Kilkenny in the Leinster semi-final.
“Kilkenny will be right up there. I thought they were awesome today. It is a completely different style of hurling for Kilkenny compared to what they would have played 10 years ago. Now they are using it short and they are using it long. They have come a long way.
“The way the game has gone, it is important to adapt. In life, things crop up and you have to adapt. From where I was standing today, they are doing okay.
“We were flat. Flat is putting it mildly. When you are down 14 points at half-time, it isn’t a nice place to be, especially when you are playing Kilkenny at home. But I am extremely proud of the lads, they fought hard. I think we won the second half by four, missed a goal we probably should have got and a few bad wides.
“We held our own in the second half, we were probably a bit more set up.
“I would be disappointed with the two goals we gave up but that is the name of the game. Hopefully, we will get a bit of time to rectify that.”
As Championship approaches, getting the right balance is key.
“I tried out a few different things and I got to see how well they work or how well they didn’t work. I didn’t start Kevin Foley. It’s always important you have a back-up, one or two things ready, just in case something happened Kevin. But also I try my best that I don’t play five full games for everyone.
“You see with the injury to David Dunne, he wasn’t on the field five minutes and hamstring gone, and we barely training [for the last] two weeks so I don’t know why that happened. It is important for me to have back-up in as many places as I can.
“Certainly when you come here you’re going to get a massive challenge and you’re going to know where you stand with every player. When you’re getting well beaten at half-time, the easy thing would be to throw up the white flag. Them Wexford guys will never throw up the white flag. They won’t throw it up, I can tell you that.”