IT’S done and it’s dusted. A mere 35 seconds of hurling ensured that Seanie Johnston is now eligible to play senior football for Kildare. Finally, writes RUTH CHAMBERS.
Agree with it or not, the whole saga has finally come to a conclusion and there was no man more relieved than the man himself at full time in Clane this evening (Saturday).
Since late last year the transfer of Johnston from Cavan Gaels to St Kevin’s has dominated GAA headlines and dominated many an agenda in Croke Park. He has jumped through each and every hoop asked of him and finally his case has been put to bed.
Speaking to the local media after Coill Dubh’s six point victory over Eire Og/Chorra Choill this afternoon Johnston’s relief was palpable. And now all he wants to do is play football. Nothing more, nothing else.
“It hasn’t been overly easy and I don’t think GAA players should have to go through the hoops like I have. We (players) are doing this because we want to play football or hurling. You want to play at the top level if you’re able to and to have the big rigmarole around something I enjoy was frustrating. All I want to do is play football and live my life quietly, which hasn’t been happening for a few months now. I’m happy to have it over with, so are my family and we can just get back to normal now,” said Johnston.
Everyman and his dog has had an opinion of the Seanie Johnston transfer. Almost daily new rumours surfaced but throughout Johnston kept quiet. He didn’t take the bait. Football and playing it, was all that mattered.
“I’m not really in to talking to the media and I haven’t done it over the last few months and I suppose not everyone has kept as quiet over it. A lot of people have spoken, people who don’t know the truth or the whole facts behind the case. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I started playing football because I loved it and enjoy playing and now I’m looking forward to getting back playing, hopefully, at a high level and performing well,” he added.
Hundreds of other transfers were given the green light before the Cavan man was deemed fit to move to the Stapletown based club. Not once could Johnston, St Kevin’s or indeed Kildare, have ever predicted the circus that followed.
“I thought it would be done and dusted fairly quickly. I didn’t envisage all the rigmarole behind it and I certainly didn’t see today coming. I’m just happy to have everything behind me. I don’t want to be, despite what people might think, in the national press, in the Kildare press or any other type of press. I just want to be playing football,” he admitted.
Johnston added: “I played my first competitive game (for St Kevin’s) about three weeks ago and that was my first game since October. That’s eight months and a lot of other transfers have gone through in that time. Anger is the wrong word but it has been frustrating.”
The fact that, in the end, Johnston had to play hurling for Coill Dubh left a sour taste in many mouths. He didn’t have much choice in the end. And for those that thinks his actions were cynical this afternoon, Johnston had a very valid response.
“For people who think today (and playing hurling for Coill Dubh) casts things in a bad light maybe they should look at all the transfers that have gone through in the last seven or eight months when I’ve been made give things like my wage slips, my PPS number and a whole lot of other government documents. Nothing seemed to be quite enough for the powers that be,” he insisted.
Tomorrow morning Johnston will still be dominating the headlines but at least now he doesn’t have to jump through anymore of those aforementioned hoops. He can play football for Kildare whenever he wants. He will now wait and hope that Kieran McGeeney picks him.