Wexford manager Darragh Egan was bullish in defending his side’s record this season as their 2022 campaign drew to a close on Saturday afternoon following an All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Clare.
A defeat of Kilkenny in UPMC Nowlan Park was the most memorable moment from a somewhat frustrating year for the Wexford hurlers as they struggled to put a string of positive results together despite some eye-catching performances.
Although his tactics and set-up have been a point of confusion for several Wexford supporters at certain stages in both the league and championship, the Tipperary native remained positive in the aftermath of their exit at the hands of the Banner.
“I’d say we did more than put it up to Clare,” Egan said. “We had a 16-game run this year and we only lost three games. There’s not too many counties that can say that.
“But ultimately we finished the year with no silverware. It was on us that we weren’t in the Leinster final, that was a Leinster title that we could have competed for properly.
“We’re bitterly disappointed we didn’t get over the line because we came here thinking we were going to beat Clare and we were very confident we were going to beat them. A few things didn’t go our way and that’s not the way it panned out.”
He also defended his team despite their inability to see out the game in the closing stages.
“We were six up and people say, ‘oh, we left the lead behind us’; that is not the way hurling works. We always knew we were going to be under pressure coming down the home straight. Ultimately, that’s how it was.
“We lost a few bodies, a few lads in pivotal positions. But our lads gave it absolutely everything. They left blood, sweat and tears out on that pitch, we couldn’t have asked anymore from them. I thought the two Recks were absolutely outstanding. Shane Reck, who was after having a 16-week hamstring injury, he did an unbelievable job on Tony Kelly, as he always does. He is a great player.
“The two boys, we couldn’t get them off the pitch quick enough it was that type of game. When the two boys went off, a few holes appeared in our defence. But all credit to Clare for how they finished the game.”