"A hell of a lot of work has gone into underage in Wexford and it's showing"

February 28, 2018

Wexford players celebrate their Allianz HL win over Clare at Innovate Wexford Park.
©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

Wexford's upturn in fortunes has come as no surprise to Billy Byrne.

The 1996 hero has been involved at the underage coalface in recent years and was well aware of the talent coming through the ranks.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he highlighted the impact that Model County players made on this year's Fitzgibbon Cup competition as proof of the hard work that has gone on.

"There's doom and gloom when you haven't done anything in such a long period, the doom and gloom just gathers," he remarked to The Irish Independent.

"As far as young lads and teams coming through at underage? We always felt we had a serious amount of talent in the county. A hell of a lot of work has gone into underage down here in Wexford in the last number of years and I think it's showing.

"Where you see most of it is in colleges. Five or six years ago we wouldn't have had too many people on DCU or UCD or IT Carlow or WIT teams, maybe one or two. Now we have four or five Wexford fellas backboning a lot of these teams and that's where you get your strength from.

"DCU had five Wexford players on the team beaten by UL (in the Fitzgibbon Cup final). With IT Carlow there was two, UCD there was three or four and then you bring all them together after playing top-class hurling at college level. 

"You put them in against Tony Kelly and John McGrath and when you start playing them at college level you get the confidence to play them at any level."

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