*Davy Fitzgerald. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Wexford managed by Sixmilebridge’s Davy Fitzgerald have won their first Leinster senior hurling championship in fifteen years.
Their nineteenth provincial title arrived following a hard fought battle with Brian Cody’s Kilkenny, the first time since 1997 that they overcame the Cats in the Leinster final. It finished 1-23 0-23 in their favour with a penalty from goalkeeper Mark Fanning proving to be the difference as they got their hands on the Bob O’Keeffe Cup.
For Fitzgerald it is the latest success for his CV, already at senior inter-county level he has led Waterford to two of their seven Munster senior championships, his time at Clare included the unforgettable 2013 All-Ireland success and the 2016 National Hurling League title. He is now the first manager in hurling history to complete such a sweep of titles.
A strong Clare contingent joined Davy in the Wexford back room team including Mike Corry, Michael ‘Gazzy’ Collins, Mike Frawley, James Hickey and Noel Considine. Seoirse Bulfin who was the goalkeeper coach with the men in Saffron and Blue during Fitzgerald’s tenure is also part of the Model County’s management.
He is not the first man to lead the Yellow Bellies with strong Clare connections. Liam Griffin who oversaw their All-Ireland success in 1996 lined out for the Banner at U21 level and also played for Newmarket-on-Fergus during his time studying at the Shannon College of Hotel Management winning Clare SHC medals in 1967 and 1968.
Earlier on in the day, Limerick’s success in the Munster senior hurling final was greatly aided by the presence of Clare men in their management team. Paul Kinnerk and Joe O’Connor, both members of the 2013 setup and with strong links to the county have played integral roles in the Treaty County’s success over the past two years. Equally Shannon’s Alan Cunningham has been a selector for all of John Kiely’s three year term while this year Aonghus O’Brien of Broadford has come on board as a coach.