POTENTIAL Kildare player, Seanie Johnston says that he is abiding by GAA regulations in his bid to play for the county.
Johnston, who was told last October that he would play no part in Cavan’s future plans by manager Val Andrews, attended his first training session with prospective new club, St Kevin’s in Staplestown on Sunday morning.
Feeling that he still had something to offer at inter-county level, Johnston initially sought to make himself available to Kildare while continuing to play his club football with Cavan Gaels. The transfer bid was rejected, as was a subsequent appeal, because under GAA rules, a player can only play for a county if he is a native or plays for a club within that county. It is at this point that Johnston opted to throw his lot in with St Kevin’s, who are based only ten minutes from his house in Straffan.
Cavan Gaels have signed his transfer form but the Cavan county board refused to do so, ensuring that Johnston will now be called to a hearing in Croke Park by the Central Competitions’ Control Committee.
Cavan’s management committee raised doubts as to whether or not Johnston does actually reside permanently in Kildare but the player rejects the logic and the factual basis of their claims, pointing to the fact that the Gaels have supported his transfer as strong corroborative evidence.
“I’m still waiting to hear back from Croke Park” said Johnston after his training session. “As far as I’m concerned, Cavan Gaels have signed off on it. They know I’m living down here at this stage. Unfortunately Cavan have put in an objection so we’ll have to wait and see what Croke Park says.
“I don’t think there should be any problem, the fact I’m living down here and moved clubs. I was told I had to move clubs, I’ve done that, so there should be no issue.
“I’ve said all along, all I want to do is play at club level and county level. Hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll be able to do that. I wanted to be with Cavan but unfortunately I don’t have that choice anymore. All I want to do is play.
“If I’m playing with Kildare and training six days a week, it’s impossible to be living in Cavan. I’m living in Straffan. If anyone wants to come down for tea they’re more than welcome.”
The fact that he is teaching in Cavan is an irrelevant issue thrown into the mix to muddy the waters he argues, with where a person works not a requirement for eligibility.
“The amount of people that are commuting from Dublin to Cavan, or just outside Dublin into Cavan … the commute is fine. I’m lucky enough in my job that the holidays are good and I’ll finish up at the end of May so that will help as well.”
The players, management and officials of St Kevin’s have been “very welcoming” according to Johnston, whose accurate finishing was very evident during the hour-long game.
His ultimate aim is to break into the Kildare squad of course, but he knows it won’t be an easy task.
“The Kildare set-up is very professional. They’ve been together now for what is their fifth year. I’m not expecting to just walk in and get a place in the panel. I’d have to go through the ranks, whether that be junior or whatever
“A few weeks and a few games there, hopefully if I prove myself to be good enough, then I’ll get called up to the senior squad at some stage in the coming year. But I know it’s going to be tough, I’m putting in a lot of hard training but you want to be playing games and get involved in group sessions.
“I’m training now with Kevin’s, it’s going well and you feel your levels coming up every little bit you do. I’ll hopefully get back into competitive action soon.”