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Johnston may have to wait to make Kildare bow

By John Campbell

One of the longest-running transfer sagas in the recent history of the GAA has ended now that Seanie Johnston’s switch of allegiance from Cavan to Kildare has been officially sanctioned.



Johnston’s desire to leave Cavan initially became apparent when former manager Val Andrews left him out of his squad. But the player’s application to switch his allegiance to Kildare club St Kevin's was turned down on the grounds of residency and ethos. Having exhausted other procedures, he subsequently appealed to the Central Appeals Committee which ruled that his move was within GAA regulations.

Johnston, who has been Cavan’s top scorer for several years and is one of the highest-profile players in the province, will now join Kieran McGeeney’s Lily Whites but his debut could be deferred.

Under the rule Johnston cannot line out with Kildare until such time as he has played a club championship game within the county.

He was ineligible to play in St Kevin's first round SFC game last weekend and currently the second round is not scheduled to take place until after McGeeney's team exit the Leinster championship.

Kildare play Offaly in the Leinster championship on June 17 and were St Kevin's second round match fixed before that date, then Johnston would be eligible to play for his new county. It is understood that efforts could be made to stage a match though in which Johnston could participate which would pave the way for his involvement in Kildare’s second game if the Leinster championship should they beat Offaly.

Cavan chairman Tom O’Reilly said: “Obviously the Central Appeals Committee has made its decision and we have to accept that. But I must say I am really disappointed that Seanie did not dig in and stay with us. He could have won his place back in the panel.

“There are counties closer to Kildare that he could have joined if he was so keen to leave but obviously he had reasons for wanting to move there. For our part, we are now hopeful of getting a decent run in the qualifiers following that defeat by Donegal last Sunday.

“We have young players coming through in our side and we have to move on.”

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