Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald has paid tribute to Mark Fanning and his family for the way he performed just days after his grandfather died.
Fanning notched 1-02 as the Yellow Bellies beat Kilkenny in Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1 quarter-final.
This game just days after the family suffered a bereavement and Fitzgerald was quick to praise his player.
“People probably don’t realise that Mark’s grandad, who he was very close to, passed away the other day,” said the former Clare and Waterford boss.
“How he went out and played today, I don’t know. I’m blown away by it and he didn’t want any fuss made over it. To his family, I wish my deepest sympathy.
“What they allowed him to do today was unreal and the respect we have for him is incredible - fair play to him because he’s a brilliant man.”
Wexford secured promotion from Division 1B with a perfect record and are now through to the top flight’s final four following their first win over Kilkenny since 2004.
"Jeez, you beat Kilkenny and you think you’re doing alright and then you have to go and play Tipp!"
Fitzgerald is delighted with the quick progress his team has made, but he insists no one involved in the set-up is getting carried away and he’s preaching caution before the semi-final with All-Ireland champions Tipperary on Sunday, April 16.
“It was a good win,” he said. “The game could have gone anyway because it was nip and tuck for most of it. We’re not going to get carried away because it’s 2 April. There are a lot more days ahead.
“Two weeks time and we’re playing Tipp. Jeez, you beat Kilkenny and you think you’re doing alright and then you have to go and play Tipp!
“They’re the in-form team at the moment, on top of their game, but we’ll go and see what happens. We’ll give it a lash. For us getting promoted was massive so any little bit after that is great.
“We know we have an awful lot of work to do and the next two and three years will be interesting. There’s a lot of space for improvement, but the honesty and commitment was out there today.”
Wexford are likely to face a Leinster semi-final against Kilkenny on June 10, if they can beat the winner of the round-robin group featuring Westmeath, Kerry, Meath and Laois.
So beating the Cats for the first time in 13 years early in the season will do no harm for their confidence.
Clare won last year’s Division 1 title from Division 1B and three Division 1B teams are in this year’s semi-finals - Wexford, Limerick and Galway.