McEnaney finally takes up Royal appointment

SEAMUS McENANEY was finally given the green light to become the fifth manager of the Meath senior football team in seven seasons at the county board meeting in Navan last night.

There was surprisingly little opposition to the installation of a first ever outside boss to take control of the Royal county side and the vote in favour of the man who was at the helm with his native Monaghan for the last six years was 53 to 19.

McEnaney, popularly known as ‘Banty’, follows in the footsteps of Eamonn Barry, Colm Coyle and Eamonn O’Brien (the latter pair serving two terms), who were in the hot seat after Sean Boylan stepped aside after 23 years in the position in 2005.

A major bone of contention was the large ‘expenses’ outlay involved with McEnaney and his management team which include former Armagh selector Paul Grimley and Tyrone native trainer Martin McElkennon, who will be working along with Meath’s All-Ireland winner of the ‘80s and current successful Skryne boss Liam Harnan.

However, treasurer Pat Clerkin allayed such fears by stating that while the package would cost €11,000 per month (from January to September), savings could be made in a number of areas. He said that a training trip to Portugal this year cost €30,000 and that will not happen in 2011.

Meath’s 1988 All-Ireland winning captain Joe Cassells, who was a member of the three-man interview panel, said: “Of all the candidates interviewed Seamus McEnaney stood out like a sore thumb. The enthusiasm he showed reminded me of Sean Boylan when he first came into the position.

“It is very important that the players happy. We don’t want a situation like there was in Cork and Waterford,” said former chairman Pat O’Neill.

Liam Keane, another member of the interview panel, said: “The players did not ask for one manager rather than another. They are ambitious and want to get to the next level.

“We should not be happy to be just a top eight team, they deserve the best management team available.”

Chairman Barney Allen said McEnaney’s appointment would be a three-year ‘contract’ to be reviewed after two years. However, if clubs are not happy with the management team, they can submit a motion to next year’s convention. The chairman also said that another selector from within the county would be added to the management team.

Although Central Council representative Brendan Cummins expressed concern that an ‘inside’ manager could not be proposed despite an extensive coaching and development programme over the last few years, the force was strongly in favour of McEnaney

Now McEnaney faces the task of improving on reaching an All-Ireland semi-final final and a first Leinster title in nine years — albeit controversially gained — achieved during O’Brien’s two years at the helm.

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