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O'Loughlin transfer to St Brigid's facing block

John O'Loughlin's transfer from his home club in Laois to St Brigid's in Dublin is expected to be ruled out of order in the coming weeks.

O'Loughlin's transfer request away from Mountmellick has passed through Leinster Council and is now with his original club, but because the player is still a student at UCD, he's not entitled to move to a Dublin club.

Under rule 6.9 of the Official Guide "residence in a county for the purpose of attending a second level school or a higher education college shall not qualify as a permanent residence" for the purpose of an inter-county transfer. The transfer request is expected to be turned down on that basis.

O'Loughlin will, however, complete his studies in UCD in April and once he establishes residency after that, he will be free, under GAA rules, to make his proposed move.

In the meantime, he's unlikely to play for Mountmellick, but will have to resubmit his transfer at a later date if he wishes to go through with it. The same ruling would have prevented Paul Galvin from transferring to a Dublin club -- if there had been any substance to that story -- after the Kerry player enrolled in a DIT course.

Laois and Mountmellick officials accept that the move to rule O'Loughlin's transfer out of order will only stall the inevitable. O'Loughlin has expressed his desire to move to the Blanchardstown club, which will once again swell the number of Laois players playing for Dublin clubs.

The Laois County Board chairman, Brian Allen, has hinted at a possible rule change being proposed in his county to prevent such a drain.

If they do press ahead, they'll have backing from the Leinster Council chief executive Michael Delaney, who touched on the issue in his annual report last summer.

Describing the drain away from provincial clubs in Leinster as a "trickle that has become a torrent," Delaney said that he didn't have immediate solutions, however.

"It's happening within counties, but because of local bye-laws and/or strong leadership it can be curtailed," he said. "Most worrying, however, is the trafficking of promising players from clubs in one county to clubs in another county. This is becoming rampant in Leinster."

Irish Independent