Joint Wexford captain Lee Chin insists Davy Fitzgerald has strictly observed the terms of his high-profile suspension and attended training in ‘spirit’ only.
The Wexford manager is serving an eight-week suspension for entering the field of play and jostling two Tipperary players in last month’s Allianz League semi-final defeat.
He will be banned from the sideline for Sunday’s Leinster quarter-final clash with Laois, as well as an anticipated June 10 showdown with Kilkenny, and Chin claims the Clare man has also sat out training sessions. The Faythe Harriers man said that Fitzgerald has communicated mostly with his players by phone and online messaging services whilst also conducting individual face to face meetings.
“That’s pretty much what’s going on at the moment,” said Chin. “There’s a lot of contact through mobiles and social media, in terms of WhatsApp stuff like that. In terms of his presence at training, he’s only there in spirit. All we can do is just be in contact through any other alternative.”
Chin said he has personally met with Fitzgerald on a number of occasions.
“I have yeah, on a couple of occasions,” he said. “We’ve met in certain places. In some ways it’s difficult enough to try to communicate that way with your manager.
“At the same time, Davy is making the best of it and doing what he can. We’re happy enough that he’s still involved and with us generally and his backroom team has picked up the reins and they’re doing a great job so far.”
Asked if it was the strangest build-up to a Championship that he’s known, Chin nodded.
“Yeah, I suppose, in a sense it is but we’re five weeks into this situation now, you are almost used to what is going on. The point of contact is there, you’re getting familiar with it now and Davy being Davy, he is still getting the best out of you.
“He is still motivating lads and driving you on. And it is the same with the backroom team, Davy would be just as hard on those guys as he is with the players. He has them really working hard too.”
Fitzgerald visited O’Moore Park yesterday to check out his vantage point for Sunday’s game. He will be seated towards the back of the covered stand at O’Moore Park, in a central position, and he’s understood to be happy with the slot that will be allocated to him.
Chin said he isn’t sure if the former Waterford manager will be permitted to meet the players beforehand.
“I presume he will feature at some stage before we head into the ground, that’s probably the only bit of time we are going to get in his presence,” said Chin. “Maybe he’ll meet us on the bus or maybe at the pre-match meal, I don’t know, maybe something like that. Bar that, it is just going to be down to ourselves in the dressing room.
“He’ll still be there with us driving us on, we know that. I know he’s definitely still having his impact on our preparations, through the contact he has with the selectors.
“He is feeding stuff through and they are feeding stuff back to him after training. We would obviously have all our training sessions filmed every night too so he is getting feedback there too, seeing himself what is going on.”
Nobody is expecting Wexford to come unstuck against Laois, who qualified from the Leinster Championship’s round robin group.
“In my time with Wexford, in the national league, we’ve often played Laois and we’ve always beaten them but when it comes to Championship you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Chin.
Shaun Murphy, one of the big success stories of Wexford’s league campaign, which included promotion and a quarter-final win over Kilkenny, is struggling with a sternum injury.
Murphy operated as Wexford’s sweeper and was hailed for his intelligent use of the ball as they swept past Limerick and Galway to claim the solitary promotion place.
Goalkeeper Mark Fanning is also doubtful after breaking his finger and having started all of their league games, like Murphy, he would be a considerable loss.
“It would be a blow to lose him (Fanning) but we’ve another guy there, Ollie O’Leary, that could step in there and do a job equally as good,” said Chin.
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