The fate of Westmeath senior football manager, Pat Flanagan will be known after a special meeting of Westmeath's football board in Cusack Park on Wednesday, August 15.
The date for the meeting, at which clubs will voice their opinions on who should take Westmeath into 2013, was agreed when the board met on Wednesday night last.
Flanagan's tenure is up for its annual review, and the former Tyrrellspass supremo's handling of Westmeath's Allianz NFL Division 2 campaign, not to mention the recent All-Ireland SFC Qualifier against Kerry, has won him no shortage of plaudits.
Liam Gavin, chairman of the football board, told delegates on Wednesday night that Flanagan "is interested" in returning for another year.
"But it's up to the clubs to decide if Pat's the man to bring us to the next stage, or if you want to go and look for somebody else. Now is the time," he said.
"We can't decide on anyone else until the job is vacant, but we feel Pat should have first refusal."
Comments on Flanagan's year at the helm were broadly positive. Eamon Whelehan (Tyrrellspass) said that the Clara native "did a good job" by keeping Westmeath in Division 2, and by taking his charges so agonisingly close to defeating Kerry.
"It was a big achievement to come so close to beating Kerry, when you consider only a couple of years ago, back in Tomás " Flatharta's time, we met big teams like Dublin and were beaten by 27 points," he said.
But some voices, among them Mullingar Shamrocks' Terry O'Dowd, were critical of the handling of relations between club and county - particularly in the run-up to the Kerry game. Referring to a decision by some panel members to play a league game (for Tyrrellspass) on the Tuesday night before the grandstand clash - even though county training took place at the same time - Mr O'Dowd expressed concern over what he interpreted as "a breakdown in the authority of the management".
"Nobody knows whether the club went on a solo run or whether the team management had given them permission," he said. "I would be afraid if we had a manager that hasn't the backing of all the clubs in his decisions, and that clubs can go on solo runs during the year."
The chairman said that none of those who played for their club days before such an important inter-county match had been given permission to do so by Flanagan - contrary to reports in the national media.
Gerry Coyne, football board secretary, said that text messages were sent to each player to ensure that each of them turned up for training that Tuesday evening, and that no reply had been received notifying them to the contrary.
"There are a lot of players who would give their right arm to play for Westmeath in a home game against the likes of Kerry," he added. "But nobody texted us back about not being at training that Tuesday night."
Later in the meeting, the executive was queried about what measures had been taken by Flanagan regarding this "breach of discipline".
Mr Gavin said that no action was taken, but added that Flanagan told the executive that "if he was there next year, guidelines would be laid down and action would be taken".
Killucan delegate Des Briody said that "no blame" could be laid at Flanagan's feet, as the week of the Kerry game was "very tough for him", with his son being hospitalised.
Seamus Ennis (Ballinagore) and Gerry Gately (Tyrrellspass), meanwhile, blamed the county's fixtures committee for putting senior league games on days before the Kerry fixture.
Mr Gately - whose club was at the centre of the controversy - said that Tyrrellspass players were not alone in choosing to play for their club on the night in question. He said that Tyrrellspass is "privileged" to have county players among its ranks, and added that the club went for much of the league campaign without their top players, out of deference to the county set-up.
"If we're talking about disciplining players, what about those players who don't even make themselves available for the county?" he asked.
As delegates returned to the question of ratifying a manager, a minor housekeeping problem arose.
Some called on the board to give clubs time to discuss the matter, though Mullingar Shamrocks' Des Maguire understood that clubs had been notified well in advance that the county management position was up for discussion. This point was later clarified by Bunbrosna's Eddie Newman, who said that clubs were merely told that the "manner" of a managerial appointment would be discussed.
"You can't just disregard procedure," St Loman's delegate Ken Eades added. "The proper procedure is to send out nomination forms, and to wait for clubs to get back."
Des Briody (Killucan) felt that there was "an executive push" afoot to have Flanagan ratified again, but this was explicitly denied by the chair, who said that the matter was for the clubs to decide.
"Is there no room for considering anybody else?" Mr Briody added. "I'm not speaking against Pat Flanagan. He gave us very good service, when a lot of times the wind was in his face.
"But I think that the feeling around the county, as far as I can see, is that he should be considered along with others."
Last week, former Westmeath manager Luke Dempsey expressed his desire at getting back into the county mould, but neither Dempsey or anyone else was mentioned by delegates.
The executive told clubs to come back on August 15 with, if any, concrete proposals of anyone who was interested in the senior manager's job.
The secretary said that, regardless of who is appointed, the manager will have to sign up to a strict charter of new regulations laid down by Croke Park.