Banty leaves with a bang

Seamus McEnaney last night confirmed he’s stepping down as Meath senior football team manager — and refused to rule out a return to his native Monaghan.

McEnaney has been nominated for the Farney County post — vacated recently by Eamonn McEneaney.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Championship Matters show last night, McEnaney also lashed out at stand-in presenter Pat Spillane for his criticism of Meath coach Martin McElkennon on The Sunday Game last weekend.

Spillane claimed Tyrone native McElkennon was over-rated on last Sunday night’s show but McEnaney rounded on the Kerry legend.

McEnaney, who will not be seeking a third year in charge of Meath, confirmed: “I’m stepping down as of this evening. I notified the players and chairman of the Meath board earlier this evening that I’m stepping down with immediate effect.”

McEnaney fumed: “There was one thing that really annoyed me during the week. On the Sunday Game last Sunday night you (Spillane) had a personal attack as far as I was concerned on Martin McElkennon, without any personal knowledge of the type of character that Martin is.

“When he came into Monaghan, in his first year, Monaghan were in Division 4 and [he] left them in Division 1. Monaghan hadn’t played in an Ulster final for 20 years and played in two under Martin McElkennon.

“For me, this was Pat Spillane being anti-Ulster, anti-Ulster coaches, anti-Ulster teams, anti-Ulster full stop. Martin McElkennon has a wife and five kids, watched the Sunday Game and might not have slept since last Sunday night. He’s a top class coach, has trained five intercounty teams.

“All the players he has trained would have a seriously high regard for him.”

When asked by Spillane if he was throwing his hat in the ring for the Monaghan post, McEnaney replied: “For the past 18 months, I have ate, slept and drank Meath football, until one hour ago. Nothing else entered my head only Meath football. It’s out of my control — if some clubs want to nominate me, anybody can do that. The scenario is that I’ve already been nominated but I haven’t given it any thought in any shape of form.”

McEnaney added that he had considered the option of putting his name forward for a third season in charge of Meath, in fact he had given it “a lot of thought.”

But following a turbulent two years in charge, McEnaney claimed that he might not “get the time or the space” to do a job that he believes will take “two or three years.”

McEnaney survived a move by county board chairman Barney Allen to oust him as team boss last April.

McEnaney said: “I’ve given it a lot of thought – especially in the last three or four days. I believe, with the summer that Meath had and the players introduced, that this is a job that will take two or three years, to get Meath to where it needs to go. I couldn’t convince myself over the last couple of days that I would get the time or the space to do that the way I would like to do it.

“Dublin is in serious control of Leinster at the moment. They’ve won a double-treble — minor, U21 and senior championships two years in-a-row. They’ll be hard to crack and Meath needs serious vision for the next two or three years.”

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