Tuesday 10 December 2019

New twist in Johnston saga with CCCC chief expected to step aside

Seanie Johnston in action for Cavan
Seanie Johnston in action for Cavan

THE long-running saga of Seanie Johnston's attempt to join Kildare has taken yet another twist, as the new chairman of the Croke Park committee, which will consider his re-submitted application, is likely to stand aside for the hearing.

Johnston's latest attempt to declare for the St Kevin's club and Kildare is due for hearing by the Central Competitions Control Committee early next week. However, since new CCCC chairman Simon Moroney already has a connection with Kildare as a financial overseer, it's unlikely he will preside over the Johnston case.

Moroney, a Clare native and former Munster Council secretary, was appointed by Croke Park a few weeks ago to monitor Kildare's finances following an announcement that they were to receive an advance payment of €300,000 of monies due to them from central funds later in the year.

He has since taken over from Seamus Woods (Tyrone) as CCCC chairman and, while his links with Kildare have no personal dimension, it's difficult to see how he could preside over such a sensitive case which could have huge significance for the Lilywhites and, indeed, the wider GAA community.

If Moroney stands aside, the meeting would probably be chaired by one of the four CCCC provincial representatives, Declan Hallissey (Dublin), Tony O'Keeffe (Kerry), Seamus Maher (Roscommon). Peter Carty (Fermanagh). The four provincial secretaries are also on CCCC.

Johnston's transfer request was turned down by the previous CCCC on the grounds that there were doubts about his residency in Kildare, but he resubmitted his application, accompanied by additional documentation which he believes will prove his case.

Meanwhile, surprise has been expressed that Johnston had such a high profile with Kildare for last Sunday's league final clash with Tyrone in Croke Park. He watched the game with the Kildare subs and later joined the Lilywhites squad for the presentation.

"It will have no bearing on the technicalities of his case, but he still might have been better off to keep the head down," said one GAA insider.

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