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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Johnston must prove Lily link

THE Seánie Johnston transfer saga wasn't even discussed by Kildare GAA chiefs at a meeting last night - despite the latest development that has seen the Cavan county board raise questions about the authenticity of his new Kildare residency.

The GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee will now be tasked with investigating whether Johnston now permanently resides in Straffan - as the player insists.

The Cavan native may be required to provide substantive proof of his new address, such as utility bills and/or a rental agreement, for him to be deemed eligible to join the St Kevin's club and thereby transfer his county allegiance to Kildare.

Contacted this morning, Kildare chairman John McMahon confirmed that the Johnston transfer twist wasn't debated at last night's county board meeting or executive meeting beforehand, insisting they had more "pressing items" on the agenda.

"Cavan have contacted the CCCC and that's where the matter rests. It's every player's right to request a move in or out of a county. As far as we are concerned, due process will take place," McMahon said.

"Any player who comes in, as Kieran McGeeney has said, it's up to him to prove his place, the same as any player. Kieran McGeeney will call the shots on who plays, not the county board. That is Kieran McGeeney's job."

Cavan made their position abundantly clear yesterday. "We're not the body who decides whether Seánie Johnston can transfer or not. That's for the CCCC to determine and eradicate that doubt we have cast about his private principal residence," explained PRO Declan Woods.

"This is nothing personal against Seánie Johnston, who has been a wonderful player for Cavan," Wood stressed. "But our belief is that he is still living in Cavan and until it can be proved otherwise, we wouldn't be satisfied with this transfer being approved."

In another intriguing twist, Kildare's county board president, Seamus Aldridge, has implicitly criticised Kildare boss Kieran McGeeney (who has said he would welcome Johnston with "open arms") for discussing Johnston's proposed move before it was a done deal.

"If he's legal to come then he can come but if he's not, he shouldn't," said the former Leinster Council chairman. "I felt it was inappropriate for the team management to say anything on the subject before it has been made official."

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