Tuesday 22 May 2018

Royals' seal of approval puts pressure on Boylan

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

SEAN BOYLAN has admitted the overwhelming show of support for the continuation of his management in Meath on Monday night "has put it up" to him.

Boylan revealed yesterday that he was "blown away" by the vote of confidence Meath delegates to Monday's County Board meeting gave him as they elected him as team manager for another season.

But he knows that in the current climate of change the pressure is on him and admits that the overwhelming seal of approval has increased the challenge ahead. Boylan admitted apprehension in the days and hours before his 69 votes to 19 success over Eamonn Barry that confirmed a 22nd year in charge for the Dunboyne man.

"I was flabbergasted. I really didn't have an idea that the support was there. I hadn't a notion," he said. "It's an amazing result after all that has happened, an amazing vote of confidence. And of course it gives me confidence for the season ahead to know that I have this support," said Boylan.

"But it puts it up to me in a big way," he admitted. "And I hope now that I won't let people down."

Boylan has noted the mood change towards managers in recent seasons and particularly this summer and autumn when the 'cull' has extended to first-year occupants of the positions in both codes. He could have been forgiven for thinking that he was next on the list, even after 21 years of great service and success.

"As I said, after everything that has gone on you don't expect that kind of result," he revealed.

Barry came into the race with strong credentials after leading Dunshaughlin to three of the last four county titles and last year's Leinster club title. And with tame qualifier exits to Fermanagh and Donegal in the last couple of seasons, the 'standing order' that Boylan has enjoyed for so many years looked vulnerable.

But another early Leinster championship and qualifier exit could not expect to generate the same level of support he enjoyed on Monday night. Boylan says he will "reflect" on what he has to do in the coming season over next few weeks.

Galway football manager John O'Mahony will meet up with his players next week for the first time since their All-Ireland quarter-final exit.

Hopes are high in the west that their influential midfielder Kevin Walsh will commit himself for another season, especially after his eye-catching summer performances.

O'Mahony will also have the services of physical trainer John Glynn available to him next year. Glynn has been enlisted for help across the border in Clare by new hurling manager Anthony Daly but his main commitments will still be to the Galway footballers again. "I've spent the last year with Galway and I'll be with them again next season," confirmed Glynn.

In Donegal, Brian McEniff has wasted no time in getting his preparations for next season under way by convening a squad for winter training.

A number of new faces have been called up with Gweedore pair Stephen Cassidy and Eamon McGee, Four Masters duo Karl Lacey and Barry Dunnion plus St Eunans' Rory Kavanagh and Glenswilly's Neil Gallagher all featuring for the first time. With regular trainer Anthony Harkin unavailable for pre-Christmas sessions, McEniff will use the services of Joe McBrearty instead. The Killybegs man has been involved in the Donegal school of excellence in recent years and has extensive underage coaching experience.

PJ McGowan and Michael Oliver McIntyre will remain as part of McEniff's backroom team with Harkin expected to rejoin them in the new year. Donegal started late last season and endured a miserable league campaign, something McEniff, who had originally stepped down this year, will be keen to avoid.

But whether or not McEniff has experienced midfielder John Gildea to call on remains to be seen. Gildea won't be rushing back to join pre-season training and he may not be returning at all.

After commiting himself to retirement last year, he's determined not to make the same mistake twice.

"I'll see how the body is after Christmas," said Gildea, the driving force behind Donegal's six-game qualifier odyssey. "It's not getting any easier and unlike last year I'll keep my options open."

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