Andy McEntee can walk with the giants after last night’s crisis county board meeting of club delegates in the Gulliver suite of Trim’s Knightsbrook hotel.
The manager was invited to carry on his travels after a proposal to remove McEntee from his position received just 36 percent support, well shy of the 60 percent 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.
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.”
The prevailing 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.
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.
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.