GAELS CLEAR WAY FOR jOHNSTON TRANSFER
SEáNie Johnston has submitted a transfer request to join Kildare club St Kevin's while Cavan Gaels have confirmed that they will not stand in the path of their 'want-away' forward, leaving him free to join Kieran McGeeney's Lillywhite ranks once the move is processed.
After a prolonged 'will he/won't he' saga, Johnston has finally decided to leave his hometown club in a bid to play inter-county football with Kildare.
McGeeney confirmed that the 27-year-old has applied to join St Kevin's, a senior outfit in the north of the county who won the Intermediate championship in 2008 and the club of one of McGeeney's selectors, Niall Carew.
The application was lodged last night and will be dealt with by Croke Park within the next 10 days after which time, if no objection has been lodged by Cavan Gaels or the Cavan county board, the transfer will be granted automatically.
Cavan Gaels have released a statement confirming that they are reluctantly accepting the request from Johnston, but voicing their disappointment that a resolution between the player and Cavan manager Val Andrews could not be reached.
Johnston was informed recently by Andrews that he was not required for the coming season. The forward then lost his case for a transfer with the GAA's Central Appeals Committee when he attempted to transfer on the grounds of residency.
He then met with officials from Cavan Gaels to urge them to support him with a case to the Disputes Resolution Authority, a request which they subsequently turned down.
"If there is no DRA move, I have a decision to make then," said Johnston last week, "one which I would make carefully after sitting down with people close to me.
"Some people will be annoyed with me in Cavan over my wish to move, but these are the circumstances I find myself in. I'm no longer a Cavan player."
Johnston teaches in Cavan but used an address in Straffan to correspond with Croke Park. A player is only eligible to transfer to a club in another county if he is a resident or working in that county and while he continues to teach in Cavan, he may also be forced to prove his residency in Kildare if requested by Croke Park.
McGeeney insisted last week that he would welcome Johnston "with open arms" but stressed that he would be forced to earn his place.
"If he wants to play for Kildare, the same as anybody else wants to play for Kildare, I've an open door policy," he said.
"He has indicated that he wants to and we'll take him in with open arms but he's going to have his work cut out.
"If Seánie steps in here he's going to have to put up like everybody else."