Conor McDonald made his Wexford debut at just seventeen years of age…
The Naomh Eanna club-man was drafted into the county panel, when he received a call in 2013 from the then-manager Liam Dunne.
“Playing for Wexford is something I always wanted to do, and it probably came earlier than I ever thought it was going to. I hadn’t turned 18 when Liam Dunne asked me to come in against Clare, who were the eventual winners in that year, in 2013.”
“It flies by and like I said, I’m going into my eighth season, 2013 seems like it was a week ago. The day we beat Clare down in Wexford Park, in 2014, that was my first season properly.”
He wouldn’t change a thing though.
It’s all he ever wanted.
“When I was five and six, ten and 11 years of age, I wasn’t thinking or dreaming of travelling the world or stepping on to an airplane.”
“I was dreaming of walking up the steps in Croke Park. I think essentially that’s what it boils down to. It’s not something I regret.”
With success, it’s somewhat easier and that was helped by Davy Fitzgerald’s involvement. The Clare native has made winning a habit.
Whether it’s a Walsh Cup clash, an Allianz League match, or a Leinster final, Fitzgerald has fostered an environment where it’s natural for Wexford to compete – and to win – against some of Ireland’s traditional hurling powers, such as Kilkenny and Tipperary for example.
McDonald played a vital role in last weekend’s Walsh Cup final win, where he scored a last-gasp goal and won a free, which would eventually lead to Paudie Foley scoring Wexford’s winning point.
“It’s early in the year to be talking about silverware and stuff like that, but it’s obviously nicer to have it than to not,” said McDonald, speaking in Croke Park ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the Allianz Hurling League.
“It’s just worth winning, to be honest. It doesn’t matter about the opposition. The more often you win, you develop a habit, and how to win, and come back from certain situations,” McDonald said.
Wexford travel to O’Moore Park on Saturday to play Eddie Brennan’s Laois side. The Yellowbellies have a number of players missing, and Fitzgerald has admitted that he’s not taking the game for granted, highlighting the chance Laois have to attain the win.