McEntee: Time is right for me to manage Meath
Andy McEntee believes the time is now right for him to take over as Meath football manager as they bid to close the "considerable" gap between Dublin and the rest of the chasing pack in Leinster.
McEntee became the Royals' sixth manager since Sean Boylan stepped down in 2005 when he was appointed for a three-year term on Monday night. He takes over from Mick O'Dowd, who quit last month after a qualifier defeat to Derry.
McEntee, a member of Meath's All-Ireland winning squads in 1987 and '88, says he felt more "emboldened" to take on the role he had sought before after guiding Ballyboden St Enda's to an All-Ireland club title in March.
"You can't sit back for ever and comment from the sideline - let's have a go at it. I think the time is right for me," he said.
"I have applied for this before. But would I swap my experience over the last two years with Ballyboden? Not for anything. It's a really good place to learn and observe, and to achieve what we achieved, there is only one other competition that can top it.
"When you are dealing with elite players all the time you get hungry for success. The fellas in Ballyboden they're excellent and they have bridged a fair gap in the space of two years."
McEntee will continue to manage Ballyboden as they seek to defend their Dublin, Leinster and All-Ireland titles over the next few months.
And if that takes him all the way to March ,then he's prepared for that.
"I have to be fair to Ballyboden too. They have given me great support, there is no way I would turn my back on them," he said.
McEntee said he "would like to think we can go a fair distance towards bridging the gap" to Dublin, now Leinster champions for a sixth year in succession.
He accepts that Meath may no longer be able to consider themselves as main Leinster challengers in pursuit of Dublin despite being the last team to beat them in a provincial championship match.
"You look at Division Two of the league in the last numbers of years and we've sat in the middle most of the time. Where does that place us? At 12 to 16, something like that," he pointed out.
"In Leinster you look at Meath, Kildare, Laois and of course Westmeath getting to two Leinster finals would probably fancy themselves as being a shade ahead of the other three. There is no hiding that."
No Meath club has won a Leinster title for 14 years, one year less than the last time a provincial U-21 victory was celebrated. But McEntee doesn't believe the gulf is so great.
"I've brought Ballyboden down to play a number of games (in Meath), we got a bit of a trimming recently in one game," he said.
"Look at the teams that we played in the Leinster club championship. Maybe it's a mindset as much as anything else and I don't see why Meath teams shouldn't aspire to competing with teams like that."
McEntee will have his older brother Gerry working with him as a selector, along with Donal Curtis and Finian Murtagh, also All-Ireland winners.
Gerry McEntee might have been considered a manager in his own right given the success that he has enjoyed with St Brigid's.
"No more than myself I think it's a good fit for Gerry and it's the right time for him. It's something that he has had an ambition to do," said Andy.
"I have always wanted to work with him in a situation like this. It seemed like a natural fit."
Meanwhile, Monaghan have confirmed that Malachy O'Rourke has decided to extend his time in charge to a fifth year after a period of consideration since their qualifier defeat to Longford.