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Banty keeps head above water

MEATH chairman Allen fails in his bid to put Boylan back as head of Royal family

SO where now for Meath? Embattled, divided and staring at the grim prospect of falling into the class of footballing also-rans, last night’s sparky county board meeting did little for the county’s image or indeed, confidence for the future well-being of the once great Royals.

The upshot is that Seamus McEnaney will continue as manager into the summer, a result that will please the players, the management and not a whole lot else.


McEnaney and his management team were keeping their counsel today but it’s worth noting that in the wake of last weeks’ heave and the disastrous Páirc Tailteann unravelling and relegation at the hands of gleeful Louth, ‘Banty’ had privately resigned himself to losing the job, only for last night’s meeting - and more likely, straight dissatisfaction with the county executive - to drum up more support for his management than was initially expected.

Of the 74 votes (59 club delegates and 15 executive), 43 voted to remove McEnaney, six short of the required number. He needed 26 votes against the motion for his removal and received 31.

McEnaney now finds himself in the unenviable position of retaining his job without the support of the majority of the clubs in Meath and barring an unexpectedly bright summer, is unlikely to last any longer than the duration of Meath’s championship involvement. “Two-thirds majority is always a big vote to get,” reflected county board chairman, Barney Allen, who stood fixed in the cross hairs of club delegates all night long over his handling of the attempted sacking and perceived mis-information given at the previous county board meeting over the resignation of Seán Boylan from the role of Director of Football.

“That motion was brought because of pressure after the Louth game,” he insisted.

“People from clubs and supporters attacked me and gave out to me that I wasn’t doing anything for Meath football and Seamus McEnaney should be sacked they were saying.

“I responded to that and I asked Seán Boylan and I respect the views of the county committee. They voted to keep Seamus McEnaney and that’s what we have to go along with now.”

And what then of Boylan? If Allen

couldn’t pull off the coup with Meath’s most iconic GAA person on his ticket and a relegation to Division 3 to wave in club’s faces, what does that say about the chairman’s popularity?


Clearly, there were echoes of Eamon O’Brien’s removal as manager when the vote against his continued tenure seemed less wrapped up in dissatisfaction with his performance and more grounded in protest against the executive.

“Seán made it clear that he would only take it on if there was a vacancy and he would only take it for the rest of the year if there was a vacancy,” Allen insisted.

“There is no vacancy now so he won’t be taking it on.”

So within the space of just a few weeks, Boylan has stated that he resigned as Director of Football over concern with the role’s brief, however, last night Allen added to the general confusion by stating that the Dunboyne man had not resigned but his role had been “reduced”.

Then, after being teed up to take the big job only for the first outside man from outside Meath to manage the county - one who is being roundly blamed for taking then in Division 3 - to effectively shade a popularity contest with the executive.

For the Meath players, the result was no doubt, bitter sweet.

They met earlier this week and established that collectively, McEnaney had their backing but stopped short of publicly stating their views on the basis that no group of Royal players had done so in the past.

As Kevin Reilly , one of Meath’s more senior players tweeted after the dye was cast: “The real loser in all of this regardless of the result is Meath football. I think everyone has put politics before what really matters.”