A personal tribute to the late Shane McEntee, Irish Minister and sportsman

Shane McEntee

To those of us looking in from the outside, Shane McEntee was a real larger than life character. Shane was Minister of State for Agriculture in the Irish government when he passed away on Friday.

Little did we know he often struggled to cope with life itself. And that’s the real tragedy of his untimely passing.

From the first time we crossed swords in the 70s to the last time we met at the LMFM radio studios, he was full of vitality and vigour.

A man of royal stock in Meath GAA terms, Shane always wore his heart on his sleeve.

Proud as punch when brother Gerry enjoyed All-Ireland glory with Meath, he was just as committed to his beloved Nobber club on and off the field.

As a young reporter on the Meath Chronicle, I met Shane at football pitches up and down the country and at County Board meetings in Navan.

His ‘lock them in and make them watch’ shout as Kerry fans trooped out of Croke Park during the 2001 All-Ireland semi-final still makes me laugh.

This week last year we sat in an LMFM studio in Drogheda and discussed the sporting year that was 2011.

Shane was as interested in the Irish soccer team’s Euro progress as he was in Kilkenny’s return to winning ways in the MacCarthy Cup.

He was a man for the people who always regarded himself as one of the people no matter what role he served in his public or sporting life.

On Monday morning the people of Meath will give Shane McEntee a royal send-off. He deserves it

To Kathleen and his children, to Tony, Andy and Gerry my deepest sympathies.

This article first appeared in the Irish Sun at www.thesun.ie.

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