Geraghty: Judge Banty on this year, not last

GRAHAM GERAGHTY believes Meath manager Seamus McEnaney should be judged on his achievements this season and not on the controversies of last year.

The 38-year-old player/selector was brought out of retirement by McEnaney in a move which compelled his original management team of Liam Harnan and Barry Callaghan to step down. Meath also narrowly avoided relegation to Division 3 while they were beaten by Kildare in both the Leinster championship and All-Ireland qualifiers.

“Judge him on this year more than last year,” said Geraghty ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Division 2 opener against McEnaney’s native Monaghan in Navan. “He was getting to know the lads and their best positions when we played Kildare (in the Leinster SFC).

“We were unlucky enough to lose out against them in Navan but this will be the year to judge him. After this year we will see where it takes us.”

Naturally, Geraghty feels McEnaney got a rough ride last year. “People were very hard on him last year, I thought. Any manager coming in wants to do their best, they want to win. He was appointed very late, I think he came in November, and he hadn’t much time to get his feet under the table with everything that was going on.”

Even in the face of strong opposition within the county, Geraghty never felt McEnaney would step down from the post.

“He is the kind of man that if he puts his mind to something he’ll stick with it. The players as well have warmed to him and everything is more settled. Last year everything was all over the place, players weren’t happy. This year everybody is rowing in the one direction and they seem happy.”

Geraghty experienced some criticism upon his return to the panel but he was more upset by the reaction of Harnan and Callaghan to step down.

“I suppose what disappointed me more was that the two selectors involved, I would have played with both of them. There were mixed reports of who was saying this and that. I was disappointed with certain individuals but in Meath, in general, I would say that 80% were maybe happy to see me coming back while the rest would have been happier to bring on younger players.

“They were saying that I was too old to play but I was going well at club level and I wouldn’t have come back in if I didn’t think that I was able to contribute something. I was happy enough in my own mind going in and I did not really mind what other people were saying.”

Another former Royal team-mate of Geraghty’s Bernard Flynn referred to the two-time All Star’s recall as a “retrograde step“.

“I would know Bernard fairly well too and he plays to the media sometimes and tells them what they want to hear.

“I would say if I met him tomorrow, he would say ‘it is great to see you back’.

Geraghty is battling a troublesome Achilles injury but has declared himself fit to play at the weekend, and he’ll certainly not want to miss the game against Westmeath a week later.

“It’s not 100%, it’s as good as it’s going to get. I can get it strapped up and can get through games that way. It doesn’t restrict me running in any way.

“I’ll be togging out on Saturday, I’ll have to have a chat with Banty (McEnaney) to try and change his mind!”

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