Sometimes it is necessary to look in the rear view mirror before moving forward.
Certainly when doing your driving test is one such occasion and another is when reflecting on the unwarranted abuse fired by the faceless wonders on social media towards departing Meath manager Andy McEntee.
When the Nobber native was installed in the role six years ago it’s a fair bet those same social media posters extolled him as an incoming Messiah.
Probably the best way to sum up McEntee’s reign is to suggest that at times he did himself no favours but at all stages, he tried his hardest to progress his side.
The public are not fools though, social media abuse hurlers aside, and have long seen through, and grown tired of, McEntee’s constant whinging about refereeing decisions, they know that this was a blatant attempt to deflect from yet another uninspired Meath display, it’s a tactic perfected by Sir Alex Ferguson in his heyday.
Tactically it seemed that Andy’s idea was if plan A doesn’t work try plan A harder, as abject defeats to Dublin have been made easier for the Dubs by them realising Meath would play the same style this year as they did last year and if it didn’t work then why will it work now.
Was he the worst Meath manager ever? probably not, but he did stay on at least a year too long it was fairly obvious that the players had switched off on him and when that happens the writing is on the dressing room wall.
It is interesting to observe the Meath GAA forum on the hoganstand.com website where some of the more diehard, passionate, and erudite posters reside, and note that they lay the blame at the county boards feet for the state of the game in the county is currently in and to a large degree they are perfectly right.
However, John Kavanagh is one of the youngest chairmen in Meath in many years and deserves an opportunity to put his stamp on things especially after he came to the chair in unexpected circumstances.
At heart Kavanagh is a supporter and maybe now that he is heading up the successor search it is time he reminded himself to think like a fan with the required budgetary proviso foremost in his mind.
Should Meath pay Jimmy McGuinness, the Donegal version, €50k a year to rejuvenate things, well yes but he’d want to come with a cast-iron guarantee that trophies would be delivered, and anyway if Kavanagh defies the howls of protests that we don’t need an outsider, (Meath Live’s opinion is we do), then Malachy O’Rourke would be a fair bit cheaper and probably just as good, he did deliver two Anglo Celt Cups to Monaghan after all.
There is a lot of clamour for the most popular O’Rourke in Meath, Colm of left foot legend and there is little doubt he knows football, he has delivered at Simonstown, and while his naysayers suggest he would be too old school and want the Royals to lump the ball in and every man for himself after that, but why should that be ruled out as a useful tool.
The Sunday Game pundit is an intelligent man both around and away from a football pitch. He has the degrees in the day job and the Celtic crosses to prove it, but even if he adapted old style man on man tactics who is to say the modern teams could cope with that, certainly nobody’s tried to find out yet.
There’s room for both styles during the course of a match.
Kevin Reilly’s time has probably yet to come, for Sean Kelly, it is likely now or never, Bernard Flynn had a soul-destroying experience in his efforts to get involved at underage, so the list inside the county, accepting the fact the most proven coach, Eamonn Barry’s face does not appear to fit with those at the top table, is not as long as you might imagine.
Maybe an O’Rourke combination might work, but in the end, it is likely the county board will drift to either one O’Rourke or the other, and they could certainly do a lot worse.
Then many will expect them to.