The Meath Chronicle is asking Meath senior football manager Andy McEntee to apologise after threatening to “take the f**king head off” one of its sports reporters in the wake of Meath’s dispiriting 1-17 - 0-4 defeat to Dublin last Sunday.
Andy McEntee clashed with Jimmy Geoghegan as he left the post-match press conference when Jimmy enquired if the Meath manager would be releasing players to line out in the county hurling championships this weekend. “Are you f**king mad? What sort of f**king question is that to ask me?” raged McEntee before moving off to do a TV interview. A legitimate one given that seven or eight players could be affected?
Given the nature of Meath’s loss that saw Dublin ease to their ninth consecutive Leinster title, one could maybe have excused McEntee. That’s if it had been left at that.
Shaken, but undeterred, our reporter made his way to the team bus to catch players for post-match quotes. Ben Brennan and Graham Reilly were, as usual, obliging and offered their insights into what went wrong for the Royals and their plans for recovery. Three other journalists were also present.
It was at this point McEntee came on the scene and confronted our reporter for the second time abruptly ending the interviews.
“I’ll take the f**king head off you if I see you near the f**king dressing room again,” he shouted at Geoghegan.
This was an extraordinary attack on one Meath’s most respected writers and carried out in full view of the Meath squad sitting on the team bus.
“I couldn’t believe it was happening. I could understand him being annoyed about the question but it was a valid question as the issue of releasing players has come up not just this year but in previous years,” said Geoghegan. “But it was the second confrontation that really shocked me. He accused me of asking him a ‘leading question’ but it was never meant to be that.”
In the aftermath of this incident, which was recorded on tape, an email was sent to both Meath PRO Ciaran Flynn and Secretary Mairead Delaney outlining the Chronicle’s unhappiness at the treatment of its reporter at the hands of the manager.
The response, on Monday evening, bizarrely focused on the initial question that ignited McEntee’s fury rather than the nature of the former Ballyboden manager’s second, and far more serious verbal attack. This is that response in full.
“Coiste na Mí are aware of an incident involving the Meath Senior Football Manager and a reporter from the Meath Chronicle.
Meath manager Andy McEntee
“Our policy on the question asked by your reporter is, as always, in line with T.O 6.22 and our own Rialachain regarding same.
“All our Squad Managers and CCC Coiste na Mí respect that rule and indeed that fact is included in the Charter agreed with all Managers and GPA Representatives at the start of every year.
“On cross codes in the GAA individual players are encouraged to make their own decisions and “hearsay” talk of things being different is just that.
“Coiste na Mí will investigate internally the alleged comments. We trust that the Meath Chronicle will accept that in this delicate situation it is in both our interests to move forward and continue the excellent relationship with the Meath Chronicle that has remained for generations. We would hope to continue that relationship in a similar vein in the future.”
Treating a senior reporter in the manner which the Meath senior football manager did last Sunday was unacceptable and two questions were put to Coiste na Mi on Monday evening. Has this matter been brought to the attention of Mr McEntee and will he apologise formally to our reporter who was carrying out his duties for the Meath Chronicle as he has done in a professional manner since 2002.
At time of going to press, no reply had been received.