Davy FItzgerald must prepare for season five with the Wexford hurlers without Brendan Bugler as coach, as local paper criticises manager.
BY SHANE STAPLETON
Brendan Bugler has stepped way from the Wexford management team after just one season.
The Whitegate native joined up with Davy Fitzgerald’s outfit for what has been, due to the impact of Covid-19, a disjointed 2020 campaign.
Goalkeeper coach Noel Considine and stats man Dara Kissane have also left the set-up, as Davy Fitz must now rejig his ticket heading into year five of his tenure.
It is believed that Bugler’s busy family life and the nine-hour commute to training has led to his decision.
The two-time All Star was making the arduous trip twice per week, and his schedule was made busier still by being manager of the St Flannan’s school team.
Fitzgerald has come under increasing pressure in Wexford after a hugely disappointing fourth season in charge.
They ceded their Leinster title in limp fashion, as Galway beat them by 13 points at Croke Park in a provincial semi-final.
They then produced a disappointing display against Clare in the qualifiers, with Tony Kelly hitting top form to eliminate his former manager.
Wexford looked flat from the start of the championship, with suggestions that the dual club campaign took a lot out of some players.
Fitzgerald’s managerial reign has produced some wonderful moments, including a first win over Kilkenny at Nowlan Park for 57 years in the 2017 league.
He then led the Model County to a Leinster final where they were beaten by the Tribe, before claiming the title a year later against the Cats.
His championship record overall with Wexford is a mixed bag — played 18, won seven, drew three, lost eight — though they have managed impressive win over all the top counties in the league.
Fitzgerald confirmed on a local Wexford station recently that he would be staying on for year five, and defended the journey he has taken the county side on during hie tenure.
However, there are some dissenting voices, with ‘Wexford People’ columnist David Looby unimpressed with the manager’s reaction to being questioned on ‘Morning Mix’.
“Having confirmed he would manage the team next year after the annual will he, won’t he dance was over, he gave full reign to his frustration over an extraordinary 12 minutes which serves as a poor example for young listeners.
“Mentioning the pandemic, he said it played its part in the lack of preparations for the championship, before getting defensive about his league record. ‘I don’t want to see Wexford people going down the road of other counties as regards knocking people.
“’Don’t do that; don’t do that,’ he insisted. ‘If there are a few let the minority be there… I think it’s not a long time since you weren’t competitive with Kilkenny.
“I think it was 2015 they were absolutely annihilated down there (by 24 points) and it wasn’t by ten or 12 points.’
“Making excuses is a fine art as RTE presenters will attest to, but Fitzgerald has a way to go, both on and off the field, if he is to keep fans on side.”
Fitzgerald has not made any public response to the article, though the Sixmilebridge man did impress many viewers in the ‘When Michael Met Davy’ documentary filmed in 2019.
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