One player who has been a revelation for the Wexford Senior Hurling team this year, is Crossabeg native and Wexford wing-back, Paudie Foley.
Last year, Foley opted to take a year out from the senior set-up and decided to travel around America – and he remains with little regret regarding the decision that afforded him that brilliant opportunity:
“I had played a few years under-21 and senior and the club had brought me to December. It was like a year-round thing. I just wanted a break.”
“I did a bit of travelling. I went to America for two or three months. I just came home with a new hunger to hurl again. And raring to go again.”
“I played a bit of hurling with Tipperary San Francisco, more a bit of craic, met loads of new people from everywhere around. Then I went travelling all down the West Coast, San Diego, Vegas, Lake Tahoe, everywhere.”
“It’s just brilliant to be able to see different parts of the world, which a lot of inter-county players don’t get the opportunity to do say when they are young. I just felt I needed to do that.”
“I’m glad I did. I don’t regret it one bit.”
But just as Jack Guiney explained how there’s no better buzz that playing a championship match with Wexford, Foley similarly didn’t forget that feeling and never seemed too far away from the set-up.
When the Model County overcame Kilkenny for the first time since 2004 in the Leinster Championship, Foley was in America – but he was still messaging his team-mates, still feeling apart of the set-up.
Nearly 4,000 miles away from Wexford Park, he was still engrossed in the game as he watched the game live at 8am on his mobile.
“I was up at 8am in the morning watching it. Watching it on Mobdro, the app on the phone, with a few of the lads.
“But yeah, all through my time when I was at home, I would still go to the games. I would still support the lads, text the lads, 100% behind them.”
“Because I knew the effort they were putting in in training. I was delighted for the progress that Wexford made last year. I know there was no silverware or anything.
“But it is progress. We’re becoming one of the top teams in the country.”
After soon arriving home from the US, Foley received a phone-call from current Wexford manager, Davy Fitzgerald – and the professionalism that he arrived back into, somewhat took him by surprise.
“I kept in touch with him that year, always wishing him the best of luck. And then he re-approached me this year and I was delighted to be asked back in the setup.”
“It was a completely professional set-up that I came back to – with no stone left unturned.”
“It’s brilliant, like. Everything is looked after – there are people there if you need something done outside of training or matches, there is someone there to help you with that, your college work…”
“It is a completely different set-up that I came back to but the level of commitment and professionalism has grown in the last few years as well.”
Paudie Foley was speaking ahead of the Electric Ireland Higher Education Championships, proud sponsor of the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup.