MEATH’S 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP campaign drew to a close last Saturday in Tullamore as they suffered a round four All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Laois.
Seamus McEnaney subsequently brought his two-year reign as manager to a close last night and the Meath county board must now start the hunt for the man to guide them for the 2013 season when they will be in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League. Here’s a guide to some of the names that may crop up on their shortlist.
A live contender who has plenty of relevant experience. In his playing days Carr reached two All-Ireland club finals with Meath outfit Walterstown but came up short in 1980 against St Finbarr’s and in 1984 against Nemo Rangers. His management career saw him take in life on the inter-county stage with the Louth seniors in 2002 and 2003 while he presided over the Meath minors in 2007. In recent times he has been in charge of the Kilmacud Crokes sides guiding them to Dublin and Leinster titles in 2008 and 2010, and an All-Ireland crown against Crossmaglen in 2009.
A former Meath footballer, Kelly has extensive coaching experience which will boost his credentials. He has coached minor and U21 teams with Meath and also trained many of the current senior squad when involved during Eamonn O’Brien’s tenure in charge. Was highly regarded by the players for his role at that time and also lead Navan O’Mahony’s to the 2008 Meath county senior title after they had suffered final defeats the previous two years.
The former attacking star has an impeccable record as a Meath player, having won two All-Ireland, five Leinster and three National League medals during his career along with three Allstar awards. Managed the Meath U21 side for two years but it was an unsuccessful stint as they failed to win a championship game.
He has been involved with football teams in St Pat’s (Navan) where he teaches and the college has won three Hogan Cup titles in recent times in 2000, 2001 and 2004. A respected football pundit with his work for The Sunday Independent and RTÉ’s The Sunday Game programme, he has been linked with the job in the past and may now be poised to assume control.
Dublin boss Pat Gilroy with former Meath star Colm O’Rourke at a Sigerson Cup game in 2010. Could they be in opposition as managers next summer? Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Another former Meath playing legend who was a contemporary of O’Rourke’s on the great team that claimed All-Ireland titles in 1987 and 1988. On a management level his best work has occurred in Dublin as he steered Blanchardstown club St Brigid’s to Dublin and Leinster senior football titles in 2003 before they lost out in the 2004 All-Ireland club semi-final to An Ghaeltacht. The former Nobber player was also at the helm of the Dublin minor team for a spell and is is renowned for his medical work as a surgeon.
An inter-county star of a more recent vintage, Giles won All-Ireland senior medals with Meath in 1996 and 1999. The Skryne clubman also won four Meath senior titles and three Allstars. A physiotherapist by profession, he is a columnist with The Irish Examiner newspaper.
Giles made a notable impression this year when drafted in as a forwards coach midway through the season by Seamus McEnaney. It may be too soon for him to assume a management role but the impact he made with the players this year in his peripheral role could lead to him potentially being part of a new management team.
An outside bet, the Kerry man would be a wild card selection for a county that is likely to look within its borders for a manager after all the controversy that erupted when Monaghan man McEnaney was appointed. Evans certainly has decent credentials with the 1996 All-Ireland club winning manager with Laune Rangers also having done tremendous work with the Tipperary senior side after he took over in 2008.
Following his mid-season departure from the Premier position, he was recruited by McEnaney as a coach to Meath. It was a bold and imaginative call but reaped a dividend as his training methods found favor with the players and he built a solid relationship with them.