Monday 20 November 2017

Johnston hits back at criticism of cameo with Coill Dubh

Ex Cavan Gaels club footballer and ex Coill Dubh club hurler Seanie Johnston during the game. Photo: Sportsfile
Ex Cavan Gaels club footballer and ex Coill Dubh club hurler Seanie Johnston during the game. Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh O Conchuir

Seanie Johnston has rejected criticism of his brief appearance for Coill Dubh in their SHC victory over Eire Og-Corrachoill at Clane on Saturday that confirmed his eligibility to play for Kildare.

The final step was taken in front of a packed attendance at Clane, as Johnston started at left corner-forward. He was withdrawn on the first break in play, which came inside a minute, to be replaced by subsequent goalscorer Declan Flaherty as Coill Dubh emerged victorious by six points.

The cameo has met with mixed reactions but Johnston is adamant that he has not demeaned the Kildare hurling championship, Coill Dubh or indeed the GAA and just wants to concentrate on playing football now.

"For people who think it 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, while I've been made give things like my wage slips, PPS number and a whole lot of other government documents that didn't seem to be quite enough for the powers that be," he said.

"It hasn't been that easy a time when you're being asked for those sorts of things when they're completely irrelevant as far as the thing is concerned. I don't think GAA players should have to go through the hoops. We are doing this because we want to play. You want to play at the top level if you're able to and the big rigmarole around it is not something that I enjoy.


"All I want to do is play football and live my life quietly, which hasn't been happening for a few months now. For my family, I'd say they're happy to have it over with and just get back to normal. I'm not really into talking to the media and I haven't done it over the few months and I suppose not everyone has kept as quiet over it. A lot of people have spoken, people that don't know the truth or the facts behind the case."

He had no inkling of how long the process would take when he began it back in December.

"I didn't envisage all the rigmarole behind it and I certainly didn't see (playing hurling championship) today. 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."

Meanwhile, Coill Dubh chairman Tommy Flaherty admitted there had been "a small bit of opposition" to Johnston's involvement in the game.

"This is not of Coill Dubh's making," he said. "We felt the hierarchy in Croke Park created this situation for us. It's not up to a rural hurling club in Kildare to sort out the issues that Croke Park have but Seanie is a decent, honourable guy. He has only one thing in his mind and that's to kick football for St Kevin's and Kildare. So Coill Dubh facilitated him and I think he's appreciative of the gesture."

Irish Independent

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