Former Royals’ senior football team manager Eamonn Barry is set to return as Meath County Board coaching officer in a bizarre turnabout.
Barry, who had a controversial one-year term at the helm in 2006 after succeeding Sean Boylan, was barred from running for the coaching post at last year’s annual convention because he was not registered as a member of the association.
In an unprecedented move, chairman Barney Allen checked the membership of all people nominated for positions at last year’s convention and the Walterstown clubman was one of two nominees blocked.
However, it has now emerged that PJ Crudden, who won the race for the 2012 coaching officer role, was not registered either.
Last year, the election of the coaching officer was put back until the adjourned convention in January when the chairman ruled Barry’s registration was made after the closing date of March 31.
There was strong criticism of the way the outgoing coaching officer was treated. Kiltale delegate Ann Kearney suggested “the decision could come back to bite us” and now, in an amazing twist, it has been revealed that Crudden was not registered for 2012. It is believed he paid his membership fee to a club but the club failed to register him with Croke Park. Crudden was a selector with the Meath minor team which reached the All-Ireland minor final this year and had his return to a similar role for 2013 ratified at a county board meeting earlier this week.
As Barry is the only other nominee for the position, he looks set to make a dramatic return to the coaching officer role at next Monday’s convention.
Meanwhile, outgoing Meath secretary Cyril Creavin admitted he respects Seamus McEnaney for “standing his ground” when the top table tried to remove him as manager of the Royal County.
In his fifth and final annual report to Convention, Creavin highlighted the negative publicity Meath received when the County Committee instigated a failed heave against the team’s first outside manager following relegation to Division 3 of the league.
“The subsequent fallout of this led to much acrimony within the county,” Creavin wrote.
“Again Meath seemed to be at the centre of ‘bad press’ with a failed attempt to dislodge team manager Seamus McEnaney and his backroom team.
“This attempt only failed because a two thirds majority was requested to overturn the previous appointment. Notwithstanding this heave against the manager, credit has to be given toSeamus McEnaney for standing his ground and following a slow start to the championship had a memorable win over a fancied Kildare team to put Meath in contention in a Leinster final.
“He also had the foresight to bring John Evans into the management set-up which no doubt made changes to attitudes all around.”
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