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GAA: Mac the strife as Meath suffer yet another blow; BARRY'S BACKROOM IS LEFT IN DISARRAY.

Byline: By PAUL KEANE

MEATH football has been dealt yet another setback with confirmation that selector Andy McEntee has quit.

McEntee made the decision public yesterday after weeks of speculation that he stood down.

The Dunboyne clubman, brother of county legend Gerry, admitted it was partly due to 'recent developments' in the county.

Those developments, of course, centred on a major row between new boss Eamonn Barry and county officials earlier this month.

Barry clashed with the county executive over the makeup of his backroom team and they then recommended he be sacked.

Barry eventually beat the rap on that vote of no confidence at an historic 'clear the air' county board meeting on December 5.

At a press conference afterwards he denied there was a problem with McEntee's position.

The following week longstanding chairman Fintan Ginnity, whom Barry had been at odds with for a long spell, was sacked.

It appeared a win, win situation for ex-Dunshauglin guru Barry until yesterday when McEntee made his decision formal.

Privately, it was thought that McEntee came to the decision a while back, as, although he was on the sideline for challenges against Louth and Longford he was not at the subsequent games against Cavan and Wicklow.

Barry continually refuted that his selector had stepped down and again denied it when contacted by local radio as recently as Monday.

But McEntee took the bull by the horns yesterday to confirm his departure - less than three weeks before they play DCU in the O'Byrne Cup on January 8.

It's not quite a festive meltdown but enough to ensure that Meath football ends a dismal year on yet another low note.

County PRO Brendan Cummins read a statement on behalf of McEntee, who he said was making no further comment.

Cummins said: "Andy McEntee has stood down. He has stood down because of recent developments in the county and also because of work commitments.

"He's made it clear that he's unable to give the time, commitment and effort required to the position."

It all means that Meath's management team has still to be finalised with the new season just around the corner.

Barry had planned a backroom team of McEntee, Jody Devine, Dessie Rogers and Benny Reddy with Martin Barry playing a minor role but the appointment of Rogers and Martin Barry were blocked.

Cummins said it remained to be seen if Barry will have a new selector in place alongside Devine for that game against DCU.

"This situation caps off a bad year for Meath football," admitted Cummins.

Barry must now search for a new selector with several names likely to enter the equation including his former Dunshaughlin colleague Brendan Kealy along with county legends Brian Stafford and Liam Harnan.

Meath fans will be hoping that this latest development doesn't scare off a host of county stars from returning to action next season.

Trevor Giles and Darren Fay, with four All-Ireland medals between them, have yet to signal their intent about the future.

CAPTION(S):

STILL STANDING: (left to right) Benny Reddy, Eamonn Barry and Jody Devine; UNDECIDED: Trevor Giles
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 21, 2005
Words:517
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