AS DAVY FITZGERALD’S Wexford renaissance gathers momentum, Lee Chin admits there is genuine excitement building around the county ahead of a promising 2017 season.
Wexford have started their Allianz National Hurling League campaign in encouraging fashion, recording victories over Limerick, Galway and Kerry in their opening three outings to sit top of Division 1B.
A three-point win over Galway in Salthill having come back from the dead has been the standout performance so far and one which has certainly got people talking about Wexford’s credentials under Fitzgerald.
The former Clare boss appears to have made an instant impact and Chin says he has already instilled a never-say-die attitude into the squad.
“I suppose when we beat Limerick we gave ourselves that bit of belief,” the forward said.
“That we’re still in control of what we can do ourselves here. And then I suppose we went to play Galway and no-one gave us a chance. But we firmly believed going up there that we could beat them.
“We got up there and went behind a couple of times in the game, and I think it’s a reflection of what we’re doing, especially after the Limerick game as well, we improved after half-time when we came back after being seven points down.
Lee Chin celebrates with Conor McDonald after beating Galway at Pearse Stadium.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“I think we went down by six points down against Galway twice but we came back and won the game. So I think more so than anybody we’re proving to ourselves that we’re developing this attitude of not lying down and not giving up come the end of games.”
With a trip to Tullamore to face Offaly the next assignment this Sunday, Chin knows there is still a lot of hurling to be played before the campaign can be definitively labelled a success, but solid foundations have certainly been laid.
A fourth victory of the year at O’Connor Park would pretty much assure Wexford of promotion and then they can start focusing on building on the group stage performances ahead of a quarter-final tie.
“We’re happy that we’re in the position that we’re in, and I suppose a lot of it is in our own hands,” he continued. “Beating the likes of Galway and Limerick, I suppose Galway would be one of the top three teams in the country at the moment.
“Beating the calibre of those teams you’re thinking, you know, we could possibly do well here in the National League going into a quarter-final and hopefully we can keep believing and we’ll have momentum to bring us on through those stages as well.
Chin recently took part in AIB’s ‘The Toughest Trade.’
Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE
“I suppose looking forward to the championship you’re saying to yourself that if you keep winning games then it’s going to bring more confidence. But if you get hammered in the quarter-final of a National League then…you just don’t know.”
Days after returning from Canada as part of AIB’s ‘The Toughest Trade’, Chin was thrown straight back into the mix for last week’s 3-18 to 0-12 win over Kerry. Jet lag or not, the Faythe Harriers man scored four points and his own personal form is improving week-by-week.
If truth be told, he didn’t have much of a choice but to get straight back into it after getting off the plane home but Chin praised the impact his new manager has had in such a short space of time.
“Davy has been incredible with us so far since he’s came in,” he says of Fitzgerald.
“You look at Kilkenny’s success over the last ten years, it’s been built on the back of how hard they work in games. Just having that never die attitude, that’s what Kilkenny are notorious for.
“Obviously the calibre of players they have too is great, but their mental toughness is one to be admired. I think that’s what Davy is trying to bring in with us, playing with that intensity, that never say die attitude. Just every day you’re going out you’re going to leave everything out there and work really hard.
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“I think that’s probably what’s the backbone of our winning streak at the moment.
“I suppose if we do gain promotion this year it’ll be massive for us. And obviously then next year going in to play in Division 1A.
“The crowd that we got up in Galway after beating Limerick was just incredible. Probably something I wasn’t really expecting, for so many people to travel, but they did. That’s the thing with Wexford, we haven’t given people much to cheer about over the last number of years, but I think at the moment there is an excitement there.
“There is still a lot of work for us to do and a lot to achieve. Hopefully they can stick behind us in the process of what we’re trying to do.”
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