Friday 19 January 2018

Liam and Sam: The GAA uncovered

Exiles play wily 'Seanie' game

1 July 2012; Ex Cavan Gaels club footballer and ex Coill Dubh club hurler Seanie Johnston during the game. Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final, Meath v Kildare, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Daire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
1 July 2012; Ex Cavan Gaels club footballer and ex Coill Dubh club hurler Seanie Johnston during the game. Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final, Meath v Kildare, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Daire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

IF YOU can't beat 'em, join 'em, seems to be London footballers' motto ahead of their historic Connacht final in an ironic twist to the so-called 'Seanie Johnston rule'.

Last year, in a move seemingly intended to stymie Johnston's transfer from Cavan to Kildare, the GAA introduced a rule that you must play a club championship game before you can play county championship.

To get around it, Johnston famously played a few minutes of a hurling match in Kildare, and London have quibbled that this rule has stopped them signing up several players who arrived mid-season. But they've just got a player cleared to play in the Connacht final using the same small-ball ploy.

By playing five minutes for St Gabriel's hurlers in a London SHC game last weekend, ex-Laois underage star Cathal Greene has become eligible to play senior football for the Exiles.

He's just had a 48-week ban (for playing before his original transfer was sanctioned) lifted, but with no SFC matches fixed locally until after the Connacht final, London have gone down the 'hurling cameo' route to secure his services.

Greene, a midfielder, won an All-Ireland minor with Laois and was part of the team that narrowly lost the 2008 All-Ireland U-21 final to Cork.

Dual Dilemma

We loved the good old days when brilliant dual players illuminated the football and hurling fields as part of two teams from the same county trying to get their hands on our good selves.

We were particularly delighted in 1990 when we spent winter together in Cork, where Teddy McCarthy was a major contributor to the double success.

Times change, however, and with so many more games on the championship programme nowadays, it's not really possible to accommodate dual players any longer. Well, not to the point of changing fixtures for them anyway.

However, nice as it would be to allow dual players to indulge their skills in both codes, it's not feasible to build an already-crowded fixture list around them.

Wexford hurling manager Liam Dunne fought a strong case on behalf of dual players this week but here's the question: if fixtures are changed to facilitate a minority, where does preferential treatment end?

After all, the majority have rights too. The day of the dual player (at senior level anyway) ended when the leagues moved to the calendar year and the back door opened in the championships.

Kay still in line

We are delighted for the camogie community that legendary Dublin player Kay Mills is still in line to have the new bridge over the River Liffey named after her.

Kay is on the shortlist of five for the great honour of having her name given a permanent place in Dublin and indeed Irish life by having a bridge called after her in the capital.

The camogie world has driven the campaign with huge energy and with the final decision from the city council's bigwigs due in September, now is a good time for the hurling and football communities to add their support.

Kay won 15 All-Ireland senior medals between 1941 and 1961, as well as every other honour in the game – and usually on several occasions.

Number of the week

1940 – The last time Limerick's hurlers were chasing Munster success at both senior and minor level. They'll attempt to set that record straight in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday afternoon.

Tweet of the week

Paul McGrath – @Paulmcgrath5

Well done to @LeeChin8 and all the Wexford U21 Hurlers tonight enjoyed been at the match and what a finish. Tough on Kilkenny great game :-)

– The Irish soccer legend on Wednesday night's sensational Leinster U-21 HC final.

Indo Sport

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport