Andy McEntee

Meath withdrawal from O'Byrne Cup final remains 'an option' - McEntee

Meath manager Andy McEntee has this afternoon stated that a refusal by Meath to play the O'Byrne Cup final at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise is " certainly one of the options open" to the county. 
The final is due to be played at the Portlaoise venue on Sunday, 4pm after the All-Ireland Club IFC semi-final between An Ghaeltacht (Kerry) and Moy Tir na nOg (Tyrone). 
McEntee says he is concerned about "player safety" because the game will be played on a pitch immediately after the club match. 
"There's a couple of issues with this fixture. Playing a game at 4pm on a Sunday evening at this time of the year with the weather conditions we have at the moment we are asking for trouble," he told the Meath Chronicle. 
"The idea that we're the second game on a pitch at this time of the year with weather we currently have and the weather that is forecast for the rest of the week there has to be a safety element to that. 
"I think also some consideration should be given to players and supporters who are been asked to travel to Portlaoise unnecessarily for a 4pm throw-in on a Sunday evening. 
"We have three games in the next three weeks it just doesn't make sense, I don't see the sense of it. 
When it is suggested to him that the game could be played at 1pm in Portlaoise the Meath manager said "that could be a possibility" however such a move is complicated by the fact that TG4 are scheduled to broadcast the O'Byrne Cup final live at 4pm. 
Meath had suggested  - with the support of Westmeath - to play the O'Byrne Cup final in Cusack Park, Mullingar but that request has been turned down by Leinster Council. The game could not be fixed in Navan because there is already an All-Ireland club hurling sem-final fixed for Pairc Tailteann.   
"We've conceded home ground we are quite willing to go to Cusack Park. We were initially told no to that but I think it's still up for negotiation," added McEntee. 
"It's up to the Meath Co Board and Leinster, whatever, I have enough to be doing I'm not getting involved in all that. Look, it makes sense to change the venue, realistically the game can be played at 2pm Mullingar, we've conceded home advantage. 
"It's far less distance to travel far more respectable time on a pitch that hasn't being played on that day. There the things that has to be taken into consideration." 
It is understood that a Leinster Council management meeting is planned this evening when the venue for Sunday's O'Byrne Cup final may or may not be discussed. 
Meath will wait until they see what is the outcome of that meeting before taking the next step.