Monday 18 December 2017

Dunne delighted with Wexford's fitness level

Wexford manager Liam Dunne praised the contribution of the side's physical trainer Gerry Fitzpatrick after they came through their third titanic battle in as many weekends against Waterford on Saturday.

Last week, in the aftermath of their extra-time replay win over All-Ireland champions Clare, Dunne warned that his team had a long way to go before they could count themselves as contenders.

However, their fitness levels were most impressive in the 3-15 to 2-15 Round 2 qualifier win over Waterford, with the Model County firmly putting to bed rumours of poor preparation in recent years.

"It was a tough game out there and you have to say there were guys looking a little fatigued at the end of the game and that's natural enough," Dunne said. "We have one of the best trainers that I've ever met in Gerry Fitzpatrick and he does a superb job.

"All the guys are in good shape. Our fitness level was questioned for a number of years, but there's no better way to try to build a team than get the games that we've got.

"I've said for a couple of years that to get up to play the top teams is what we need to do. These guys will only improve from this regardless of what happens next week."

Wexford had to dig deep to see off their neighbours. They held a three point lead thanks largely to first half goals from Paul Morris and Conor McDonald. Waterford will feel they should have been closer however, after Austin Gleeson saw his 12th minute penalty saved.

But the winners started the second period with a flourish and were seven points to the good within six minutes of the restart as David Redmond cracked in a brilliant goal. It looked as though they would kick on but Waterford put up a stubborn resistance.

Colin Dunford hit a brace of goals to leave it a one point game entering the final quarter. They couldn't push on however, and despite a number of poor wides, Wexford hung on to set up a clash with Limerick.

"It was just mayhem, that's what it was! I was just waiting for the guys to respond again," Dunne explained. "Waterford felt they needed to go and win the game and Kevin Moran pushed up, it created space for our fellas and we took advantage of it."

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