Manager's position hangs in the balance as crucial vote looms
Will he or won't he? That is the question. Will Andy McEntee survive as manager of the Meath senior football team?
Delegates representing GAA clubs from all over the county will gather this evening at the Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim for a Co Committee meeting that will decide McEntee's fate in terms of his position as manager of the Meath senior football team with proceedings due to get underway from 7.30pm.
"Clubs have been invited to attend the Co Committee meeting on Tuesday to discuss the position of senior team manager," PRO Ciaran Flynn said a few days ago.
The manager’s position is the only item on the agenda. A two-thirds majority from 76 votes (59 clubs, 17 officers) will be required to remove him as manager but that's a difficult number to reach and the likelihood is that he will survive.
Last Wednesday night the Executive Committee of the Co Board decided on an eight - seven vote not to recommend the Nobber native for a sixth year in charge. Now the club delegates must decide whether to accept the recommendation or ensure McEntee stays another year at the helm.
McEntee told the Meath Chronicle that if the clubs want him to stay he will be happy to do so. "Myself and the management team will be back at work for the good of the Meath GAA on Wednesday morning if the clubs give me the backing at Tuesday night's meeting," he said.
McEntee managed the Meath minor team that contested the Leinster and All-Ireland finals in 2012 and he also led Ballyboden St Enda's to an All-Ireland SFC Club title in 2016.
He was later that year appointed Meath manager to replace Mick O'Dowd. He guided the Royal County to promotion to the NFL Div 1 in 2019 for the first time in 13 years, but the team was subsequently relegated back to Div 2. Last July Meath put up a battling display against Dublin in the Leinster SFC. They trailed by 11 points at the interval, but after dominating the second-half they lost by six, 1-13 to 2-16.
While there has been some notable achievements such as the promotion to Div 1, McEntee has endured some dark days as Meath manager none more so than November 2020 when his team was trounced 3-21 to 0-9 by Dublin in the Leinster SFC.
There have been controversies also. This summer Bernard Flynn stepped down as Meath u-20 manager after he claimed a verbal and written agreement with Co Board chairman John Kavanagh and McEntee had been breached.
The agreement, Flynn stated, was that u-20 players in the senior panel would be released for the championship. In September 2019 McEntee was returned as Meath manager for a three-year term, with a review each year, but now it's clear a majority on the Executive Committee believe a new manager is required.
Eamonn O'Brien's spell as Meath senior team manager ended in sensational circumstances at a Co Committee meeting in 2010. Despite guiding Meath to an All-Ireland semi-final in his first term and a Leinster final victory over Louth in 2010, O'Brien was sensationally axed as manager by delegates on a vote of 32-29.
There were audable gasps of surprise among delegates at the announcement of the vote. O'Brien had been ratified by the Executive of the Co Committee to be returned for a third year, but when it came to a vote the delegates rejected the recommendation and Monaghan man Seamus McEnaney was eventually appointed to replace him.
McEnaney's position also came under intense scrutiny in 2012 after opposition from the Co Board Executive, however the club delegates voted to keep him at the helm in circumstances very similar to the current scenario.