Monday 14 October 2019

McEntee happy to be part of Dad's Army

Shane McEntee. Photo: Sportsfile
Shane McEntee. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

The situation which Meath's Shane McEntee finds himself in is not uncommon at club level, but it's rare that your father is also your inter-county manager.

It's something that the Dunboyne midfielder has become familiar with, however, having had dad Andy involved at club level, while he was also at the helm when the Royals reached the 2012 All-Ireland minor decider with Shane in the starting line-up.

When things are going well - as they are now having secured promotion to top tier of the Allianz FL for the first time since 2006 - it's not a problem, but being the manager's son is often a difficult place in hard times.

"There's no point denying it, it's a fairly unique dynamic, it doesn't happen too often at inter-county level. He would have managed a lot of my club underage teams and the minors, so having a bit of experience is no harm," McEntee said.

"You are open to a lot more criticism when you get to senior county level. You have to have a thick neck, you are going to hear a few comments. It's probably the easy throwaway comment for a lot of people when things aren't going well.

"I'd say it's arguably tougher for the likes of my mam and my sister who have to sit up in the stand. When I'm out on the pitch I don't hear all of the stuff that's being shouted up there, nor does he, but they have to hear a good bit of it. But overall, it's not too bad."

The crushing disappointment of last year's qualifier defeat to Tyrone would have seen most managers cut their ties, but McEntee insists that was never a runner for his father given his obsession with Meath football.

"I knew he wouldn't leave but it wouldn't have been a shock if someone in that position did. He wouldn't have liked to have been leaving on terms like that," McEntee said.

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"He's very intense with the whole thing, it means an awful lot to him. I kind of try to distance myself from home whenever I can because I'd be very into it, it consumes me as well. So the two of us probably see an awful lot of each other.

"But it definitely does mean a huge amount to him and probably makes it all the more satisfying to have got promoted. Because when things aren't going well he really takes it on himself. Last year was tough.

"I mean, he had to put up with a lot of stick, a lot of abuse and that goes with the territory of putting yourself in that position. It's great for him to have his efforts rewarded."

McEntee, a social science student in UCD, is eager to secure silverware in today's Division 2 decider with Donegal and he hopes renewed optimism can see them flourish in Leinster this year.

"Someone is eventually going to have to break this incredible run that Dublin have. I am not naive. I realise it will probably take a team playing to their limit and catching Dublin on an off day.

"Leinster is shaping up to be a bit more competitive this year."

  • Donegal v Meath, Live, TG4, 5.0

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