New Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald was keen to keep a lid on expectations for his side in 2017 after seeing his side edged out by Kilkenny by the narrowest of margins in their Walsh Cup semi-final in New Ross.

The Cats recorded a 0-15 to 0-14 win in front of an estimated 4,000-strong crowd, many of whom will be hoping for resurgence from the Model County this year.

Fitzgerald’s full attention can now turn to the league, where Wexford will face a home assignment against Limerick before making the daunting trip to Galway.

“I suppose if you look at last year, Limerick gave Wexford a good beating,” the Wexford boss reminded listeners on RTÉ Radio 1.

“Limerick and Galway are our first two games. They’ll be massive tough games.

“I think we’ll learn a lot but I don’t think we’ll get out of 1B this year.

“You’re hoping over the next two years we’ll get out of that and be challenging in the top three or four.”

“Over the next two years, we’re going to try and build, build, build"

Delving further into his plans for the county, Fitzgerald added: “We know we’re on a journey. We’ve a lot of things to improve on and even Division 1B is going to be very tough.

“You’ve serious teams in there. We know we’ve to get up to their standard.

“So we have a lot of work still to do.

“Over the next two years, we’re going to try and build, build, build.

“We just need to stay patient.”

Reflecting on the encounter served up in New Ross, Fitzgerald said: “I think we’re both missing a lot [of players] but it was fairly competitive and there was some crowd there watching.

“We got frustrated in the first half and we got turned over a few different times.

“I thought we were better in the second half.

“I thought we'd probably three goal chances, I don’t know if they had too many.

“We just needed to convert them.

“It was a very competitive game as you’ll always have against Kilkenny.

“No matter what side we put out or they put out, it’ll always be that way.”