Johnston won't move to Lilies

THE 'Seánie Johnston for Kildare' rumour has now made headline news in his native Cavan - although major stumbling blocks must be overcome if the touted move is ever to come to pass.

It's understood there has been some contact between the player and Kildare, but well-placed sources have dismissed claims that manager Kieran McGeeney has met the prolific forward.

There are also doubts as to whether the Lilywhite camp would be willing to take on Johnston at this moment, so soon after he has been dropped from the 2012 plans of Cavan manager Val Andrews.

A far bigger impediment, though, is the fact that Johnston could only become a Kildare player if he was both resident in Kildare and joined a club in the county.

And when contacted this morning by the Evening Herald, his club chairman Johnny O'Hanlon declared: "I understand that Seánie Johnston is not moving from Cavan Gaels. That is all I can say."

In that event, there is no way under GAA rules that the player could transfer his county allegiance.

All this hasn't stopped the rumour mill about a possible move for the player with unconfirmed claims that one club in Kildare may have been interested in his services.

However, Johnston is currently working as a full-time teacher in Cavan so it would seem unlikely that he's about to take up residence in Kildare.

The saga, first reported in the Evening Herald last week, is now being reported in the local press in Cavan today with suggestions that Johnston is on the verge of moving.

Meanwhile, GAA president Christy Cooney has poured cold water on Dublin's campaign to achieve "provincial status".

In their 'Blue Wave' strategic plan unveiled last week, Dublin GAA chiefs spelled out their ambition to achieve provincial status in terms of increased funding as well as securing a permanent place on the GAA's management committee, for its county board chairman, by next year.

But Cooney countered that this is a long way off happening. "I'd like to hear from Dublin on why they expect provincial status? What does that mean to Dublin and how is it going to affect the other [counties] in Leinster?" the Corkman responded.

"I wouldn't put a judgement on it at this stage, I think we have to listen to the arguments Dublin make on it. We have a responsibility on the association to support Dublin, which we are doing.

"It's our capital city with a population of one and a half million, but that doesn't mean that everything in their plan is deliverable or is the right thing to do," he warned.

Cooney has also called on clubs to set the right example following unsavoury incidents at last Sunday's Connacht club final as well as in Antrim and Tyrone.

"There shouldn't be a need to protect referees after games. It's about showing a bit of respect and that's the bottom line. Clubs are going to have to own up to their responsibility and respect referees and respect officials," he said.