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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 21 December, 2014

Meath delegates back embattled McEnaney

The under-fire Royals manager has survived the vote, despite 43 people voting to oust him from his post.

Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Updated at 21.56

MEATH GAA DELEGATES have tonight backed under-fire football manager Seamus McEnaney.

There were 74 votes cast and the board needed a two-thirds majority, which meant they required 50 people to back their motion.

In the end they fell substantially short, mustering a pyrrhic victory on a 43 -31 count.

The die was cast early in the meeting when the first delegate to speak in favour of McEnaney remaining in charge received a sustained round of applause.

And chairman Barney Allen alienated delegates when he refused to allow one of his sternest critics Eamonn Barry to speak, claiming he was not the designated delegate from his club that was allowed to talk.

Former board chairman Pat O’Neill wanted to know how the players felt and Allen had to admit that when he had spoken to them, they took full responsibility for the team’s relegation to Division Three of the league .

In a tense atmosphere, Allen face serious hostility from the floor over his denial to delegates at the last county committee meeting that he knew anything about Sean Boylan’s resignation as director of football.

Carnaross representative Eugene Comaskey blasted, “You have turned this around tonight because you are in trouble over what you said the last night.”

And Allen’s fate was sealed when he  claimed that he had approached Boylan to step in as manager if McEnaney was removed after a management meeting.

However, former county chairman Brendan Dempsey revealed no such meeting ever took place.

The county board’s executive committee last week proposed that ‘Banty’ be removed from his position and legendary coach Sean Boylan be reinstated.

The Royals were relegated to the third tier of the National Football League with defeat to rivals and neighbours Louth.

Several clubs have rallied behind his cause however and the senior panel expressed their wish privately for a continuity after a meeting earlier in the week. Having survived the vote Banty now lives to fight another day and will presumably turn his focus to the Leinster championship.

The ballot is an embarrassment for chairman Barney Allen, who will now feel the pressure himself.

Additional reporting by Paul Fennessy and Adrian Russell

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