Friday 21 July 2017

Meath crisis deepens as selectors refuse request to return

Colm Keys and Donnchadh Boyle

The crisis in Meath football deepened last night as former selectors Liam Harnan and Barry Callaghan refused a request from the county's management committee to rejoin Seamus McEnaney's backroom team.

Meath's top brass convened a snap meeting last night to discuss the fallout from the departure of the pair and county secretary Cyril Creavin confirmed that they had asked the duo to reconsider their decision to step down over the weekend.

"We spoke to the two lads and have reluctantly accepted their resignations," Creavin said. "They were asked to reconsider but they declined so we thank them for their efforts. We plan on making a full statement on Wednesday morning."

Creavin also stated that no decision on whether other selectors native to the county would be appointed to McEnaney's backroom team.

As it stands, there appears to be no immediate threat to McEnaney's management despite the withdrawal of his two Meath selectors.

All-Ireland medal winners Harnan and Callaghan left the management on the same weekend that Graham Geraghty made his inter-county return after a three years absence.

Neither selector was apparently in favour of the decision to bring Geraghty back or the consultation among the management that surrounded the decision.

But a difficult working relationship had also developed in recent months as Meath struggled to survive in Division 2 of the league.

McEnaney was strongly in favour of bringing Geraghty back to add impetus to their preparations.

But the departure of Harnan and Callaghan has left him without selectors and that was potentially a concern for some members of the executive when they met last night.

When McEnaney was appointed the understanding was that he would have at least two selectors from within the county alongside him. Now he has none.

There was speculation that the Meath junior manager Pat Coyle would be brought on board but that has not come to pass. Instead McEnaney will continue with his preparations ahead of the Kildare game in two weeks' time in the knowledge that he has the support of the dressing room.

Some members of the executive are known to be opposed to McEnaney's management and this latest twist will have added fuel to their fires.

Banty's game of high stakes p54-55

Irish Independent

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