Thursday 22 March 2018

Meath officials step into breach

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

THE Meath County Board chairman and secretary are in line to fill the vacant slots on Seamus McEnaney's management team for Sunday week's Leinster SFC opener against Kildare while permanent replacements are sourced.

A statement from the County Board yesterday insisted that the Monaghan man must find two new 'Meath' selectors to assist McEnaney, Paul Grimley and Martin McElkennon in the wake of the controversial departure of Royal County All-Ireland winners Liam Harnan and Barry Callaghan.

But crucially, the statement put no time-frame on those appointments and it's unlikely the new men will be found before the Royals' championship campaign starts in 10 days time.

It's understood that the likelihood of chairman Barney Allen and secretary Cyril Creavin filling the vacancies on an interim basis was discussed at Monday night's executive meeting and passed by majority vote.

Regardless of the result against Kildare, Meath will be in action again on the weekend of June 25/26 when they will be playing in either the first round of the qualifiers or a Leinster semi-final against Dublin or Laois. It's thought the new selectors will be in place before that weekend.

Among the early names in the running for the positions include former county junior football manager Kit Henry as well as Curraha's Pat Coyle. However, Coyle -- who steered the county's minor side to Leinster success in 2008 and also managed the junior side this year -- distanced himself from the job earlier in the week.

There was more bad news for McEnaney yesterday as Wolfe Tones star Eoghan Harrington was all but ruled out of the Lilywhites clash after picking up an ankle injury in a challenge match against Galway, while another defender, Cormac McGuinness, opted off the panel.

It's understood the Navan O'Mahonys clubman's decision to leave the squad is due to personal reasons and work commitments and is unrelated to the ongoing strife within the management team.


When fit, the classy McGuinness has been a regular fixture in the Meath half-back for the last number of seasons.

Those absentees leave McEnaney short on cover in defence, with a number of new faces set for championship debuts, with Ciaran Lenehan, Brian Menton and Mark O'Sullivan possibly getting the nod.

Paddy O'Rourke also looks set to start his first game outfield and could feature in a full-forward line along with another debutant Paddy Gilsenan.

It's the latest development in what has been a difficult start to life as Meath's first 'outside' manager for McEnaney. The Royals managed just one win and a draw from their seven Division 2 matches and avoided relegation by virtue of their win over Sligo, who finished on the same number of points.

Irish Independent

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