McEntee hoping for big crowd in Pairc Tailteann on Sunday
With just five championship games under his belt since making his debut against Louth in 2017 Shane McEntee is already one of the more experienced members of the Meath panel and it is a role he accepts.
Coming into the team with his father, Andy, as manager was a difficult scenario for the Dunboyne defender, but he believes he is thick-skinned enough to deal with the extra demands that are involved.
“Having my father as manager is definitely a different dynamic than it is for maybe 99 per cent of inter-county footballers. I have to be willing to listen to a few cheap jibes from a lot of people,” he said. “I don't really mind that at this stage. I have had it from under-age with Dunboyne and in my second year with the minors Dad was there, but at this stage we are both mature enough to handle it.
“You don't be long getting into that bracket (being a senior player). I had half a year and a national league with Mick O'Dowd and then two full seasons and then all of a sudden I've more experience than 60 or 70 per cent of the lads that are there.
“It is a quick enough progression, but as it happens a lot of the lads that are in my age group are in that position as well, so it is a bit easier to take on that bit more responsibility, it is something I kind of relish, I don't mind it.”
Getting back into action has been longer coming for McEntee than many of the others on the panel.
He was sent off in the Leinster SFC loss to Longford in Pearse Park and missed out on the narrow qualifier loss to Tyrone, so despite a hugely successful summer with
Dunboyne, McEntee is eager to get back into action with Meath.
“Unfortunately I had another two weeks extra to wait because I didn't get to play against Tyrone, so I have been looking forward to getting back at it since the disappointment against Longford. On a personal level I have been looking forward to getting another chance,” he added.
Shane McEntee in action for Meath
Being one of the Dunboyne contingent on the Meath panel, next Sunday's clash with Dublin has extra special meaning for McEntee and while he is looking forward to the challenge he is also hopeful of a huge turn out in Navan.
“Certainly when this happened initially there was awful shock. It put things into perspective a little bit given that it happened at a sporting event, it was a fairly shocking event, but as is often the case at times like this it can bring out the best in people too.
“The fundraising has shown just how special our community is and times like this show the real essence of the people involved and why the association has been so successful.
“The community spirit in the GAA is amazing. This is a horrible situation and we would prefer not to have to be doing something like this, but at the same time it shows a massive positive side of the GAA.
“On the playing side of things, unfortunately we haven't been competing with Dublin of late, but they are always the ones you want to pitch yourself against.
“No matter what the event or the level of competition there will always be a nice rivalry between Meath and Dublin.
“Even having a big crowd there will be great exposure for our lads. I know myself playing in front of a big crowd in Navan for the first few games it takes a bit of getting used to, so this will be a really good experience for all of us, especially the younger lads coming in,” concluded McEntee.
Ticket sales are going well for Sunday’s clash with Dublin with over 4,000 tickets bought online up to last weekend.
With a large number of ‘walk-ups’ also expected Pairc Taiteann will be close to full capacity for the game.
Tickets for Sunday's game are available here