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Crunch time for Fennell transfer bid as committee to rule on appeal

TONIGHT could be key for Dublin footballer Eamon Fennell in his protracted attempts to get out of his club football limbo and secure a transfer within the county.

Fennell made his most recent appeal to be allowed to move clubs to the county's management committee last Thursday. His fate now rests on their recommendation, and the decision of tonight's county committee meeting, which is the final gambit in his four-year transfer saga.

The Dublin midfielder's attempts to leave O'Tooles and join St Vincent's have been repeatedly stymied.

When the matter came before the county board last year the vote was split and his fate was decided by the casting vote of then Dublin chairman Gerry Harrington.

Fennell then took a case all the way to the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), which decided that proper procedures weren't followed in Dublin.

The DRA referred it back to Dublin but when a second vote was taken it came out overwhelmingly in favour of O'Tooles. Fennell is now appealing that decision.

During the process, Fennell has refused to play for O'Tooles but Dublin manager Pat Gilroy has steadfastly supported and selected him.

Fennell's case is one of 17 disputed transfers that will be heard in Dublin tonight. His status, as a county player, makes it the most noteworthy.

And the contentious issue of non-Dublin players transferring to clubs in the capital -- especially from Laois -- looks set to be raised again amid strong speculation that dual star John O'Loughlin is now set to be the latest O'Moore County star to make such a move.

O'Loughlin's club, Mountmellick, who have senior status, have confirmed that "tentative steps" have been made for him to move, even though no transfer request has yet been received. It is believed that Blanchardstown club St Brigid's will be his destination. O'Loughlin is a student at UCD.

He is looking to become the seventh Laois inter-county player to switch to a Dublin club in recent seasons.

Irish Independent