McEntee critical of decision to ignore weather forecasts
Meath manager Andy McEntee has hit out at the decision to re fix their Allianz Division 2 FL game with Cavan, postponed because of a waterlogged Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday night, for yesterday afternoon when, he claimed, "the world and its mother" knew it would not go ahead because of snow forecast in the area.
The game was postponed for a second time shortly after 9am yesterday morning, one of four league matches to fall by the wayside due to weather and McEntee says it's an "abuse" of players to keep them "on hold" overnight like they were when it was clear that it wouldn't go ahead.
He insisted a call should have been made to put the game off on the evidence of the forecasts, thus allow players a rare night off at this time of year.
"It's so unfair on the players. We were down in Cavan on Saturday night, standing in the tunnel, we hear the pitch is unplayable. I accept that, (it's) out of (everyone's) control," he said.
"But everybody had their weather apps out, everybody knew it was going to snow throughout the night and the pitch was not going to be playable. And yet they wouldn't make a call. So much talk of player welfare but that's abuse of a player to my mind."
McEntee said the decision not to make a call despite the weather forecast was "inflexibility" on the GAA's behalf.
"This morning (Sunday) we got a call at 9.27, by which stage fellas were up having a proper breakfast and getting prepared. The world and its mother knew there was going to be snow down in Cavan. Why couldn't that call just have been made last night?" he asked.
"Those fellas could have gone off and had a social night out, have a bit of time with their families and friends. Instead, they were on hold again. My club Dunboyne had their major fundraising event for the year on Saturday night. Our lads went back, attended it but didn't really partake in it because they potentially had a match this morning, probably well aware that the match wasn't going to go ahead.
"They don't have a social life and last night was an opportunity to have something and then it's pulled and they won't have another one for six weeks. All it needed was someone having a look at the forecasts which are pretty accurate these days and saying, 'That game is not going to go ahead tomorrow.'
"And then some wonder why fellas don't want to play inter-county football or football in general. We asked on Saturday night to make a call on it. We were saying, 'Look at the forecast rain, and snow for the night up until 8am the following morning. Everyone knew that pitch wasn't going to be playable. Make a call that this game is off or that we are going to play it in Navan'."
The GAA's Central Competitions Controls Committee will refix the game today but have only two windows of opportunity, next weekend or the weekend of March 10/11. Meath also have the refixture of the Bord na Móna O'Byrne Cup final against Westmeath, another victim of the weather, to fit in to an increasingly compressed schedule.
The Monaghan/Kerry Division 1 game in Inniskeen also went by the wayside due to a snow-covered surface after a second pitch inspection at 11am yesterday. Kerry had travelled north-east the day before and will have to make that journey again, either next weekend or on March 10/11.
A third match, Sligo's home game against Fermanagh, was also shelved before Offaly arrived in Celtic Park to play Derry to discover that fresh snowfalls had made that journey in vain. Their manager Stephen Wallace said the call could have come earlier but acknowledged that nothing could be done about the pitch.
Potential problems lie ahead for those counties now with next Saturday's Sigerson Cup final. The finalists are not known but Kerry's midfield pairing, Barry O'Sullivan and Jack Barry, are also the UCD midfield pairing while Monaghan's Conor McCarthy is UCD's centre-forward. They play a semi-final on Wednesday night against UUJ for whom Monaghan's Ryan McAnespie lines out.
There is potential involvement in a Sigerson final with DIT for Kerry's Ronan Shanahan, while Cavan have Enda Flanagan and Caoimhín O'Reilly and Meath have Brian Power in a semi-final against NUIG, also on Wednesday. Sligo's Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch is with NUIG.