McAnarney backs Banty to stay on

Although it appears a futile statement, Meath captain Shane McAnarney has backed Seamus McEnaney to remain on as manager for a third season.

Speculation is mounting the Monaghan native will step down and put his name in the hat to once again take charge of his own county.

As well as that, McEnaney failed to get the simple majority support of the county’s clubs in April and that is unlikely to improve now.

But defender McAnarney is backing him to stay at the helm.

“Ah yeah, the management team, you know, the work they’re after putting in... things weren’t going well in the league, they changed it up, you know, the work they’ve done, the proof’s in the pudding there.

“We’re playing better football, there are a lot of new young fellas introduced. We had a lot of serious injuries to big name players, Seamus Kenny, Shane O’Rourke and plus there’ll be lads there champing at the bit [next year], mad to get on the squad.

“That’s what it’s about. You want fight around the county and you want lads to want the jersey. That showed in a lot of young lads this year and hopefully we’ll get a few more next year.”

McEnaney kept his players and management inside the Meath dressing room for close to an hour after Saturday’s defeat to Laois.

McAnarney wouldn’t elaborate on whether McEnaney spoke about his future.

“Ah, that’s up to himself to sort out, and the boys. I’m just trying to get over that game there. We’re out of the championship. It’s just gutting. That’s all that’s going through our heads there at the minute.”

McEnaney promised he would make a quick decision on his next step while he took the opportunity to applaud his players and management.

“I am proud of the Meath players, proud of the young fellas who have come through, proud of my management team that really drove this job on, particularly this last 12 or 14 weeks,” the Monaghan native said.

“All I’ll say is my decision will be swift in the next five days. The future is bright for Meath football. Meath started four players from the Leinster final two years ago — that’s an 11-player turnaround. The one thing about these young fellas — they will do anything for a manager, they’ve a big future ahead of them.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more. Six great championship matches, a real bit of spirit back and a new team built and ready to go forward.”

Both McEnaney and McAnarney refused to use the six-day turnaround from their Leinster final defeat to Dublin as a mitigating factor for losing to Laois.

“I won’t use it as an excuse,” said McEnaney.

“We’d have played for another 15 minutes out there if we’d have gotten an opportunity. I wouldn’t be blaming it.”

McAnarney agreed: “Six-day turnaround? That’s nothing. It didn’t make any difference to us.”

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