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Allen lash for Barry

EMBATTLED Meath GAA chief Barney Allen has hit back at Eamonn Barry following the latter’s latest broadside against the county board hierarchy’s running of affairs in the county, writes Frank Roche.

This latest twist comes after Barry, who managed the Meath footballers in 2006, claimed that tonight’s vote to try and oust Seamus McEnaney as Royal boss was a “politically motivated move by the chairman to distract attention from elsewhere” and was really about “Barney Allen’s attempts to stay in power.”

“I’d expect that from him,” Allen responded when contacted by the Evening Herald today.

“It’s always been the case with him. Every county chairman that was there had a difficulty with him, since he was manager of the Meath team.”

The Meath executive have tabled a motion for tonight’s eagerly anticipated county board meeting, seeking to terminate McEnaney’s term and replace him with Royal legend Sean Boylan. It remains to be seen whether the executive can secure the required two-thirds majority, but their attempts to sack ‘Banty’ have sparked an increasingly divisive debate within the county. Barry has led the charge in a variety of newspapers today.

As Meath coaching officer last year, Barry served on the executive arising from which he has claimed: “For six months last year, at first hand, I saw how business was conducted by Barney and the Meath county committee, and I stated to a meeting that there was a total lack of openness, transparency and accountability.”

Allen hit back, declaring: “I ruled him out of the convention this year from standing as coaching officer because he wasn’t a fully paid-up member of a club. The county committee wouldn’t have been properly constituted and would have been open to challenge, and I ruled him out on that basis … there is no record in Pairc Tailteann of him being paid-up to Walterstown. His membership has only kicked in.”

As for whether this latest managerial controversy is politically motivated, the veteran officer said: “I am 35 years on Meath county board and I never was defeated in any election I stood for – and I never had to canvas for votes or anything.” Adding that he had received a “huge mandate” from delegates at the last Meath convention, Allen maintained that he felt compelled to act after the Royals slumped into NFL Division Three last Sunday week. “

Seamus McEnaney put a great effort into Meath, there is no doubt about that. But after the Louth game, I had to do something,” he said .

He admitted that two-thirds was a “big portion” of votes to secure and concluded: “I don’t know what way the vote will go.”