Championship Special: Deflated boss to consider his future
Seamus McEnaney has admitted that he is considering his future as manager of the Wexford Senior football team.
Following their heavy 18-point defeat at the hands of his native Monaghan, McEnaney cut a lonely figure in the sanctity of the Wexford dressing-room following that qualifier mauling in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
'I can't stand here and make excuses, there are no excuses, and all the clichés would be lost, he said.
'We were simply outclassed, beaten, well beaten by a superior force. Of that there's no doubt as they (Monaghan) have been playing at a high level now for so long, it created a huge gulf in standards.
'People speak about Monaghan, and sides like them. These sides are all playing Division 1 football, their physical fitness is at a different level, they are superbly coached and finely tuned, which playing at this level of football brings.
'That's the level everyone aims for but it's difficult, hugely difficult to get there, and even more difficult now given the level of professionalism they bring to their preparations.
'Once the qualifiers threw up the shock results. But now that seems no longer the case, as such results with some exceptions are a thing of the past. We've been comprehensively beaten and the result shows the gulf between Division 1 and Division 4. It's immense,' he said.
People speak about football and the gulf being created by the top sides and where it leaves the lesser counties, but McEnaney is of no doubt what this defeat does for Wexford football.
'This is a huge blow for Wexford football. Those sides are at a different level, professional level. We met an angry Monaghan team as well. They would have been disappointed at losing to Down,' he noted.
'They are very skilful, fit and strong, at a different level to Wexford. They will not be happy until they have qualified for an All-Ireland quarter-final. That's the level they are at compared to Wexford.
'It's a huge setback for Wexford who have played Division 4 football for two years. We got promoted this year but today was something different. In a losing dressing-room it's hard to take positives but these are as good a bunch of players as I have worked with. They have given it everything in training, preparation and commitment, but they met a superior force.'
Wexford were reduced to twelve players before the end of the game but McEnaney had no complaints with match referee Conor Lane.
'I'm not here to point the finger at the referee. Conor Lane refereed last year's All-Ireland final, he is a top-class official. The referee had no bearing on the game.
'We never envisaged ending up with twelve players. We had yellow cards, black cards and red, but there was not a dirty stroke in the game. For Wexford it was borne out of frustration, that's all I can say.'
But having been heavily beaten by his native county, whose supporters gave their once-favourite son a positive reception on his appearance with the Wexford squad, his future now lies very much in doubt.
'Look, it's a horrendous journey. It's a journey that's unsustainable, the mileage covered from home to training and games, that has all to be considered. But I would like to thank the County Board for their support. Their support has been tremendous. They ticked all the boxes.'
On his future with the county, McEnaney said: 'While this is not the time for decisions it would be right to suggest I will be thinking over my own future. The travelling is unsustainable,' he added.
With the Monaghan native's future now very much in doubt, it certainly seems as if Wexford will begin the search for a new manager over the coming months.