Matthew O'Hanlon lifts the lid on secrets to Wexford's renaissance

The centre back and joint captain spoke to Off The Ball about how the team has moved up the gears

BY Raf Diallo 21:00 Monday 12 June 2017, 21:00 12 Jun 2017

Wexford's Matthew O’Hanlon celebrates a score ©INPHO/James Crombie

Wexford joint captain Matthew O'Hanlon feels greater fitness and more tactical work has contributed to an excellent 2017 so far.

The centre back was part of the team that defeated Kilkenny 1-20 to 3-11 in Saturday's Leinster Championship clash as the latest landmark in the county's rise under manager Davy Fitzgerald.

Chatting to Off The Ball, O'Hanlon explained how Davy Fitz has instilled changes in the setup.

"For the last five years under Liam Dunne, he brought Wexford hurling from a low ebb up to a place where we could compete with the top teams and on any given day, we could beat one of the top teams but we weren't really consistent," he said.

"And when Davy came on board, we got an All Ireland winning manager there, someone that's had success with Clare and Waterford too. He's a massive figure in the game of hurling and he brings a seriously professional setup to the team and the backroom team have a lot of experience and we did an awful lot of work in the pre-season and to concentrate game by game and win after win and build up a momentum.

"And once we got on a bit of a roll and we got a few big wins - the likes of beating Limerick for the first time in the league and beating Dublin for the first time in a while in the Walsh Cup and then Galway in Salthill - it kind of reinforces the points that he's been making to us and it gave us the belief that we're as good as teams if we stick to our gameplan and work really, really hard."

One major change he pinpointed was that Wexford are "fitter now than we would have been in previous seasons" and that "a good bit more tactical work" has been done.

Wexford conceded three goals but O'Hanlon was happy with the way in which the team bounced back from each setback and still come out on top. 

"Our response to each of the goals was something that pleased me," he said.

O'Hanlon also spoke warmly of the atmosphere generated. 

"It was phenomenal really and Wexford Park is full to the rafters and majority Wexford supporters there in a tight game like that. There's no feeling like it," he said.

"The crowd were immense and once we got on top, then we had them roaring behind us, it really drove us home."

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