by Jackie Cahill
Meath's Christy Ring Cup-winning manager Martin Ennis has announced that he's stepping down after three seasons in charge.
Ennis oversaw huge progress in Meath following his appointment as Cillian Farrell's successor in 2014 - and his final season in charge saw the Royals return to senior championship hurling for the first time in 13 years.
Not content with that, Meath beat Kerry to record a first senior hurling championship win since 2002, when Laois were defeated.
Ennis guided Meath to three pieces of silverware during his impressive spell at the helm - a Kehoe Cup in 2015, a first Christy Ring Cup for the county last year, and the 2017 Allianz Hurling League Division 2B crown.
Meath may have finished bottom of their Leinster round-robin group, and suffered relegation, but county board officials will make a strong case to have the team included in an expanded and revamped series next year.
That would help Meath to build on the excellent work overseen by Ennis - and allow his successor a platform to work from.
Ennis confirmed last night: "It's been an honour and a privilege to manage the Meath senior hurling team for the last three years.
"After taking time out, and talking with family and friends, I have decided not to seek reappointment for a fourth term.
"This has not been an easy decision to make, especially with the achievements during this time.
"I want to express my sincere thanks to all involved in this success.
"I wish the Meath senior hurling team every success in the future."