Continuity assured as Andy gets green light

Andy McEntee will continue as Meath senior football manager for a sixth season. The St Peter’s, Dunboyne clubman got a resounding endorsement (46-27) from the county’s club delegates in the Knightsbrook Hotel. This comes after the ‘Powers That Be’ had decided to vote against the incumbent doing the third of his three years term.

The former Meath minor and Ballyboden St Enda’s boss was handed a three year term with review after two when he succeeded Mick O’Dowd in 2016 and that arrangement was extended in 2019. However, during this evening’s gathering in Trim that the committee charged with reviewing the matter had no recommendations to put forward. So what the purpose of of the whole thing was is baffling. Another needless talking shop.

Andy McEntee continues at the helm

Andy getting the green light ensures a continuity of process which can only be good going forward. Because, despite what an element might think, progress is being made. Moreover, with the inclusion of Paul Nestor and Marcus Brennan in a shaken up backroom team is a shrewd move as both have been involved with successful underage county teams in the last couple of seasons.

St Colmcille’s adopted son Colm Nally will remain in his role while McEntee has recruited John McCloskey who has been involved with Joe Kernan-managed teams in the past as they strive to continue the journey back to football’s top table.

Thoughts will surely now turn to the GAA’s forthcoming Special Congress on October 23rd which will discuss proposed radical and intriguing competition restructuring measures. Which will, if delegates have the cajones to ratify them, be the most forward thinking and positive advance proposed in decades.

If, as should happen, Proposal B, which would guarantee a set number of games and be constructed in such a way as to link the National League and Championship ensuring that teams would be in among comrades of their own ilk, is passed next weekend, it will bring about a set of circumstances which should be right up a team like Meath’s street as, with any developing team – which I firmly believe Meath still are – nothing will bring them forward more than regular, competitive games.

Former goalkeeper Marcus Brennan is a newly appointed selector

There are two other unforeseen benefits which will materialise if Proposal B gets the nod. First of all, it should cement the position of the split season in the GAA calender. And secondly, though some might wonder about this one, I firmly believe the mooted new arrangement will breathe (desperately needed) new life into the provincial championships. For many counties, attaining a provincial title would be a good season’s work in itself. Now imagine the boon it would be for a team to have a meaningful title under their belt and be kings of their local castle with the bulk of the season still ahead of them.

I say a meaningful title as it would appear the O’Byrne, McKenna and McGrath Cup competitions and FBD League have no meaning anymore. Which is absolutely shameful and a disrespectful insult to those in whose memory the trophies were put up. But then, the GAA have form for forgetting history when it suits them. Hence the Tommy Murphy and Railway Cups also being cast to the dustbin.

Of more note, though, is the fact that Meath GAA is most definitely on an upward curve. Underage football and Ladies Football success have been extensively covered here in recent months and it must also be remembered that there have been significant developments in hurling for the county during the 2021 season also.

Chief among which must rank the capture of the All Ireland U-20 B title, attained at greatest expense to Derry in Newry during the summer. Winning may be a hard habit to acquire sometimes but if you can hang onto it you can achieve anything. For the Meath senior hurlers, this season, that meant retaining their status in the Joe McDonagh Cup. No mean feat in itself when you consider the quality of team that has been partaking therein and, equally, how well some of those who’ve been promoted from same have done at the highest level.

Stephen Clynch was the finest Meath hurler of his generation

The infusion of some of those victorious U-20 players is just one reason Nick Weir – who was endorsed for a further two seasons at last night’s meeting – and selectors David Reilly and Stephen Clynch (pictured above) have reason to be imbued with hope ahead of the commencement of the 2022 season.

Another boost being the considerable addition of Limerick native Seoirse Bulfin to the coaching team. The latter brings a wealth of experience into the setup having worked extensively alongside the unfortunately currently idle Davy Fitzgerald. Who knows, maybe Seoirse will get the great man up to these parts for a night or two. I know one man who could without doubt facilitate such a proposition!

What last night’s developments will also do, of course, is add extra impetus to the closing stages of the local club championships. Which should make for great entertainment for the rest of us. More so if you happen to have a vested interest therein.

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