I decided this morning to get out the encyclopedia hibernia and check out where exactly Cavan and Kildare are. I have Seanie Johnston of Cavan/Kildare to thank for this.
Everyone will be familiar with this sorry tale, a story of utility bills, player revolt, allegations of poaching if not grooming, travel to work time etc etc. It gets stranger day by day.
It is not for us to pass judgement on whether Seanie Johnston is legitimately resident in Kildare and therefore entitled to play for the county he isn’t from or whether his new found affinity for the Lilywhites is merely him seeking a flag of convenience to further his career and maybe win some silverware.
The Congress threw him a curve ball by declaring players cannot represent their adopted county until they have played a club championship match.
This is a clumsy way of ensuring players are legitimately committing to a new club rather than hitching their cart to the nearest cause. The new rule is flawed because potentially a player could transfer lefitimately and miss the championship through injury thereby disqualifying themselves for a long period of time. The rule should perhaps include so additional alternative residential time period qualification.
In our club for years another stronger club had their eyes on a player whose father had played for the years back. They repeatedly tried to poach him but our committee to their credit stood firm. He had ben developed through our youth system and we had invested time and effort in his progression. We were then less successful than now but it sent out a strong signal.
Although it is not analagous to the Johnston affair, small and less successful counties will be wary of a larger team sniffing after their better players. Different indeed of a man moves to another town for work and is legitimately seeking a club to play for.
The ousting of Val Andrews by the Cavan players threw another curveball.
It remains to be seen what way this will pan out. I suppose at the heart if it is the GAA’s core belief that it is better to lose with a band of your brothers than win with a band of blow ins.