Sunday 19 November 2017

Johnston transfer to drag on

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

SEANIE Johnston's proposed transfer request from Cavan to Kildare will be discussed by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) next Monday night.

But the process looks set to be a lengthy affair as it has put the GAA, at central level, in unchartered territory.

Johnston's home club Cavan Gaels have not objected to his proposed transfer to a club in Kildare (St Kevin's, Staplestown) -- a move he's been forced to make as the first step in his drive to line out for the Lilywhite seniors.

But the Cavan County Board, who also needed to give his switch the green light, has formally raised an objection, alleging that Johnston's primary residence is in Cavan and not Straffan, as he's declared on his transfer request.

Their objection has been referred to the CCCC, who will discuss it for the first time next Monday but have not yet sought any supporting information or documents from the player or Kildare.

Insiders say the case will take some time to process because there is no precedent at central level for how a player establishes his primary residence. It appears that the CCCC will first have to clarify what the criteria are for 'proof of residence' before they can ask Johnston to demonstrate that he meets them.

This is not the first time that an objection to a transfer has been raised on the basis of residency. Carlow made a similar objection when county footballer Thomas Walsh successfully transferred to Wicklow in recent years, but that case was handled by Leinster Council as it was within the province.

This is a cross-province transfer which must be dealt with by the central authority.

Johnston has already been dealt with by the CCCC this year when they refused his move on the basis that he was 'declaring' for Kildare, but that does not disbar them from adjudicating on the Cavan board's objection because this, as a transfer request is technically a different issue.

Johnston, who teaches in Cavan, did his first training session with St Kevin's last weekend and afterwards was insistent that he is living in the shortgrass county.

"If I'm playing with Kildare and training six days a week, it's impossible to be living in Cavan," he said. "I'm living in Straffan."

Elsewhere, Tyrone star Martin Penrose is on the brink of an internal club transfer to major local power Carrickmore. His home club, Aghyaran, are reportedly not objecting because Penrose has been living in Carrickmore for a few years.

Irish Independent

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