WITHIN AN HOUR of him stepping down as manager of Meath, Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney featured on RTE’s Championship Matters programme.
In the opening moments of the show, usually fronted by Marty Morrissey, McEnaney confirmed that he would not be continuing his tenure with Meath, later citing a necessity to take ‘two or three years’ to bring Meath to their best. Time he couldn’t commit.
However, as stand-in host Pat Spillane followed up to ask why he took the decision, McEnaney took the opportunity to hit back at Spillane for labelling coach Martin McElkennon ‘overrated’.
“One thing that really annoyed me during the week was The Sunday Game last Sunday night, yourself.” Banty said pointedly to Spillane, beginning a staunch defence of the Tyrone native.
“You had a personal attack, as far as I was concerned, on Martin McElkennon. Without any knowledge, any personal knowledge, of the type of character Martin McElkennon is. When he came into Monaghan – Monaghan were in Division four. He left and Monaghan were in Division one.
“Monaghan hadn’t played in an Ulster final for 20 years and they played in two under Martin McElkennon. For me, this was Pat Spillane being anti-Ulster, anti-Ulster coaches, teams… anti-Ulster full stop.
“McElkennon has a wife and five kids, [then he] watched The Sunday Game and he might not have slept since last Sunday night. He’s a top-class coach, he has trained five inter-county teams and all the teams he has trained would have a serious high regard for him.”
Spillane, standing in as presenter of Championship Matters while Morrissey was on Olympic duty in London, opted to avoid further confrontation and responded:
“That’s why we’re on The Sunday Game, to offer our opinions, and it annoys more people than probably enjoy it , but I suppose we’ll agree to differ on this.”
The notoriously divisive Kerryman then moved the show on and asked McEnaney if he would consider a return to coach his native Monaghan. A possibility McEnaney certainly did not rule out and appeared to welcome a nomination.
“For 18 months I have ate, slept and drank Meath football until one hour ago. Nothing else ever entered my head only Meath football.” Said Banty, before adding:
“The scenario is that I have already been nominated by other clubs, but I haven’t given any thought, in any shape or form.”