Following Meath’s relegation from Division 2, Seamus McEaney’s tenure as manager looks in serious doubt after his side went down by a harrowing nine point defeat to neighbours Louth yesterday. After relegation was confirmed Meath chairman Barry Allen refused to confirm or deny if McEaney’s time at the helm was up.
Both teams went into the game looking to avoid relegation and a win would have saved the Royal County but another lack-lustre performance condemned them to Division 3 football for next year. Reports have surfaced today that a management committee meeting has been called and McEaney’s future as manager will be the hot-topic of conversation. Whatever way you look at it, it’s doubtful he will be in charge when Meath begin their Leinster SFC against Wicklow on May 27.
Meath finished the campaign with only two wins and five losses, leaving them second from bottom with only four points to their name. The league campaign started brightly with wins over Monaghan and Westmeath but that early season form slipped quiet dramatically and poor displays against Tyrone and Derry followed.
Meath’s performances continued to lack any real urgency or commitment and despite criticism from former players and the general public, McEaney was allowed to continue. In fact, he was very much-maligned by people at the start of the season, when appointed, as many in the county preferred an indigenous manager and this distain for an outsider could potentially scupper any plans he harbours of avoiding the chop.
So where has it all gone wrong for the former Monaghan manager? McEaney, or ‘Banty’ as he’s known, has bemoaned the loss of Joe Sheridan who emigrated to the United States earlier this year. Sheridan’s departure was a huge loss to the team but Meath possess forwards who are capable of stepping up to the plate and scoring vital points when needed – Just look at last year’s All-Ireland one point, second-round qualifier win over Galway where all six forwards scored.
It could well be that leaders on the pitch are lacking and Sheridan was definitely one of them but something is certainly amiss in the dressing room. Some players are beginning to look disgruntled and uninterested in McEaney’s management style and maybe the gruelling training sessions are taking its toll. But whatever it might be, Meath’s proud footballing heritage is in danger of losing its substance if these issues are not addressed, soon rather than later.