Andy McEntee stays in charge of Meath after surviving vote

Proposal to remove manager after five seasons received just 36% support

Andy McEntee has been granted permission to continue on his travels as Meath manager after receiving the backing of the county board.

At a meeting in Gulliver’s Suite at the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim, a proposal to remove McEntee from his position received just 36 per cent support, well shy of the 60 per cent required.

A total of 73 votes were cast and, with just 27 in favour of sacking McEntee after five seasons, compared to 46 against, his position was immediately safe.

The summit meeting was required after executive committee members voted by eight to seven last week against retaining McEntee, though a cheer and a lengthy ovation followed Tuesday night’s vote.


It’s the third time in 11 years that a county board vote has gone against the wishes of the county’s executive committee with regard to team management.

In 2010, clubs rejected a proposal to retain then Leinster title-winning manager Eamonn O’Brien, while two years later an attempted heave against Séamus McEnaney was voted down.

McEntee wasn’t present at the Trim meeting where his position was discussed by delegates for around 90 minutes before the vote took place. Curiously, local media were permitted to attend the event, though not national media.

Word soon filtered out of McEntee’s stay of execution and he, along with team captain and son Shane, can now continue their plans for the 2022 season.

County chairman John Kavanagh expressed his hope that Meath will move forward as a “united county” following the episode.

“It’s done and dusted now, it’s unfortunate the way it came about but that’s democracy,” said Kavanagh. “It was within the management committee’s remit to propose whether Andy McEntee went forward for another year or not and they decided maybe he shouldn’t. After that, it was up to the clubs to decide and I’m delighted that all 59 clubs were represented and had their say. I think it was a very good debate, the clubs had their say and they spoke.”

Proposed heave

A mood to stick with McEntee for another season at least was visible from early on, with a series of speakers distancing themselves from the proposed heave.

There were also requests for an open vote, with one speaker stating passionately that he didn’t “want to be part of any group that takes part in a secret ballot”, adding that board delegates had been “mandated by clubs so let’s see it”. This prompted a vote – by a show of hands – over the secret ballot issue with delegates ultimately voting in favour of a private ballot to decide the management situation.

McEntee will breathe a sigh of relief at the eventual outcome, yet last week’s effective vote of no confidence from the executive committee, allied to the portion of clubs that voted against him last night, will inevitably leave him under increased pressure to perform in 2022.

The executive committee vote that triggered the county board meeting, Meath’s first physical meeting since last March, followed a separate independent review by a three-man committee into the manager’s progress which was presented last Wednesday.

Delegates were told that while the review didn’t make any recommendation regarding McEntee’s future, the contents of the document were used to inform the executive committee’s vote.

What’s certain is that McEntee has experienced several highs and a number of sharp lows in his five seasons as boss.

The 2012 All-Ireland minor final manager has presided over 52 League and Championship games with the senior team, winning 24 of those, losing 25 and drawing three.

Win percentage

That equates to an overall win percentage of 46 per cent, with 45 per cent of his wins coming in the league and 47 per cent in the Championship.

McEntee’s stock peaked in 2019 when he guided the 2010 provincial champions to promotion from Division 2 and to the Super 8s, prompting officials to hand him a fresh three-year deal at that stage.

Included in that arrangement was a review after two seasons which occurred when this year’s Championship concluded with a battling six-point Leinster semi-final loss to Dublin.

McEntee, who has blooded a number of impressive young players including Mathew Costello, Jordan Morris and Cathal Hickey, immediately began planning for 2022.

With Donal Curtis and Finian Murtagh stepping down from his backroom team, he added highly rated ex-Armagh coach John McCloskey to his setup which also includes Paul Nestor, ex-goalkeeper Marcus Brennan and Colm Nally.

McEntee stated in advance of the vote that he would be “back at work for the good of Meath GAA on Wednesday morning” if supported by clubs.

Meanwhile, Meath hurling received a significant boost with confirmation that highly rated coach Seoirse Bulfin, Davy Fitzgerald’s coach for successes in Clare and Wexford, will be part of Nick Weir’s management.