So where to now for the Meath senior footballers?
Questions have to be asked following last Sunday’s lethargic loss to Kildare, and the first one that should be addressed is where have all the big men gone?
Admittedly there is no point selecting someone simply because he is 6’3 and 15 stone of muscle, first and foremost he has to be able to play.
But surely there has to be some fine physical specimens with a football brain about the place, yet when the Meath team linked arms to stand for the anthem in Newbridge it was noticeable how small some of them were, not in terms of muscle, they have all been on the weights but just in height.
There was one who looked far too heavy to be a county footballer but that’s for another day!
One assumes that Andy McEntee and his backroom team have scoured the place and looked at all options, McEntee is far too professional to not have done so, so maybe players of the required size simply aren’t there.
Then again maybe goalkeepers of the required ability aren’t all that evident either, because it can certainly be said enough of them have been tried, and none have really nailed down a place.
Nelson would suggest Andy Colgan is not in possession of the number one shirt because he is the best of those who have been tried, but simply because he is the least bad.
One thing that cannot be complained about si the sides fitness levels they came strong at the end and it’s fair to suggest that had they fifteen on the pitch in the last moments they may have at least brought the game to extra time.
That said if Cormac McGill was spat at, and why would it be said publicly that he was if there was no evidence to back up such a serious allegation, his reaction was understandable.
An overall assessment of McEntee’s reign is probably best left until the end of the championship campaign.
The unfortunate thing is should it conclude against either Longford or Carlow it would be no great surprise.
Andy McEntee got the job on merit, his All Ireland club success was the stand out achievement of any native Meath coach in years and he has given it his best shot the jury may still be out on whether or not he should carry on, but they are very close to reaching a decision.
However pause for a moment and think who could be brought in to improve matters.
Locally there are many that would be keen to throw their hat in the ring but even allowing for an impressive playing career how many have enough actual management experience to make thkngs better.
Colm O’Rourke is the genuine exception to that rule but would he want the job, certainly his efforts with Simonstown and St Pats merit consideration and Nelson wouldn’t be averse to him having a go.
Having had a mixed reaction to the Banty’s time in charge, although admittedly it was mainly those in charge of the show and not the hard core fan base who wanted him out, officials may be reluctant to go outside the county again, even though Jimmy McGuinness is available and one imagines at the right price he’d consider it.
McGuinness though had a cause close to his heart in Donegal football would he have the passion and desire to achieve as much with any other county, that said Mickey Harte’s got off to a flier with Louth.
The real problem though is as a county we are still playing catch up with the big boys after ignoring under age structures for a long period.
The onus is on the county committee to address that and to be fair there are signs they are trying to do so.
There has been a notable reduction in the age profile of those at county committee level, John Kavanagh for instance is one of the youngest chairman in years, and it is to be hoped they are more attuned in to modern thinking.’
It’s a long road that has no turning but for the moment the Meath road seems straight ahead.
Mind you that is how the Captain steered the Titanic.
The recent passing of Barney Curley has seen a host of stories about his legendary Yellow Sam gamble at Bellewstown races back in 1975.
Nelson was fifteen years old and present at the races that day but it was only when reading Curley’s autobiography recently that two elements of the story came to light.
Firstly, while it was well known that Barney O’Hare a close friend of the trainers was the man who was on the only phone to a non existent, and supposedly ill, aunt, thereby blocking the betting shops calling the course to reveal an avalanche of money was going on the horse.
What is not well known is that as a string or irate bookies and race goers started roaring at O’Hare to get off the phone, calls he duly ignored, the first in the queue and the one making the most noise was another Curley plant, which means even if O’Hare had given up the phone would still have been blocked.
The second thing the book revealed was while Curley hid in furze bushes alongside the course, fearful his presence at the court would alert bookies to the coup, his representative on the day was issuing detailed and very brief instructions to jockey Liam Brennan.
As Brennan recalled it he was told, ‘Don’t f*****n fall off him’.
He didn’t and the rest was history