Friday 23 February 2018

Sean Johnston poised for Cavan return as Lilies vote on McGeeney

Seanie Johnston pictured in action for Kildare
Seanie Johnston pictured in action for Kildare
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

A transfer request taking Sean Johnston back to Cavan Gaels is expected to be processed this week.

Croke Park has yet to receive the request but it is understood that his current club St Kevin's have received it. An objection is not anticipated.

It will end Johnston's association with Kildare, which has been tainted with controversy and was somewhat fruitless for the player.

Johnston declared residency in Straffan despite working as a teacher in Cavan town, and this led to an exhaustive investigation by the GAA's Central Competition Controls Committee. The whole process took over six months to complete and only concluded when Johnston played a hurling match with Coill Dhubh the day before Kildare's Leinster championship defeat to Meath.

He failed to start any of the nine championship matches the Lilies played during his period of eligibility but did make a more significant contribution to Kildare's Division 1 league campaign.

Cavan Gaels lost a senior championship to Castlerahan over the weekend and now face Kingscourt in their next match. It is unclear if Johnston's transfer will be through by then.

Meanwhile, Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney is expected to be recommended for a further two-year term by the county's executive committee tonight.

However, a number of clubs are already understood to have mandated their delegates to oppose the recommendation and that will force a potentially divisive vote.

McGeeney has the clear support of the Kildare squad, but a mood for change exists among some clubs in the county.

Outgoing Westmeath manager Pat Flanagan has re-emerged as favourite to resume the role in 2014. A Westmeath board meeting to discuss a possible proposal tomorrow night has been put off for a further week as members of the selection committee to find a new manager seek more time.

Flanagan's days looked numbered when a board meeting opted last month to open up the role to potential candidates.

Flanagan had served as manager for three-and-a-half years and despite taking them into Division 1 earlier this year, it appeared as if a change was being sought.

But potential candidates like Jason Ryan, John Maughan, Tommy Carr and former manager Luke Dempsey have ruled themselves out of contention. Hopes that a high-profile candidate would be 'sprung' have also dwindled in recent days.

Former Dublin player Jack Sheedy has also been touted but it looks like Westmeath may now resume 2014 with Flanagan at the helm.

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