Davy Fitzgerald is stepping down as Wexford senior hurling manager, thecan report.
The Sixmilebridge man leaves after five seasons having brought the Model County to their first Leinster SHC title in 15 years in 2019.
It is understood Wexford were keen for Fitzgerald to stay on but the commuting from Clare had become taxing on the 49-year-old.
Fitzgerald succeeded Liam Dunne in October 2016 and after earning promotion in his first season he kept Wexford in Division 1A for three seasons before the league was reformatted last year. That same season, he guided the county to their first provincial final in nine seasons.
Aside from bringing back the Bob O’Keeffe Cup to Wexford and the thrilling All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary, his term will be remembered fondly for how competitive he made the team in the clashes with Kilkenny. Up to last year’s league game, Wexford were undefeated in six meetings with the Cats, winning three on the bounce.
In a statement released through Wexford GAA, Fitzgerald said: “I have informed the County Board that I will not be in a position to continue in my role as Bainisteoir of the Wexford Senior Hurling team. The main reason for this is down to the six-hour round trip from my home in Sixmilebridge, which I have done for the last five years.
“I have never felt closer or happier with any team in all my years coaching and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of my five years in Wexford. It has been an absolute privilege and an honour to have worked with every one of the players during my time in Wexford. There were ups and downs, highs and lows, as is the nature of Sport, all of which was experienced with a sense of collective pride and enjoyment.
“To the Players, County Board, Clubs and People of Wexford, I wish to thank each and every one of you for playing no small part in every enjoyable second of the journey. From the first meeting in Gorey in October 2016 to last Saturday week in Thurles you have all made me feel so welcome, supported and proud to be involved with Wexford. On behalf of myself and my backroom team I wish to thank everyone associated with Wexford GAA for everything over the last five years and I wish you all the very best for the future. Le Croí agus Lámh, Davy.”
Wexford GAA chairman Mícheál Martin stated: “We wish to sincerely thank Davy and his backroom team for the manner in which they have carried out their duties over their stewardship. Davy’s arrival in 2017 resulted in immediate promotion to Division One of the National Hurling League and a first Leinster Final appearance since 2008. In the last five years we have been consistently competitive, with the 2019 Leinster final victory the standout moment.
“Davy’s contribution to the activities of Wexford GAA went above and beyond those expected from a Senior Team Manager. Davy is and will always be held in the highest of esteem by all in Wexford GAA.”
Fitzgerald has been an inter-county manager every year since his hurling career finished with Clare in 2008 and there will now be speculation about his next project. Shane O’Neill’s two-year term as Galway manager concluded last week and that may be an option if O’Neill is not interested in remaining on for another season.
Wexford will shortly begin the process of appointing Fitzgerald’s successor with Eddie Brennan, Derek McGrath and Willie Maher among the names being linked to the role.