London to have 'full panel' for Connacht opener

London to have 'full panel' for Connacht opener

A potential crisis for the London senior footballers has been averted by the rescheduling of the start of the London Senior Football Championship.

Club delegates voted unanimously last night to allow the Exiles' club Championship be brought forward from its original July start date to the weekend of May 26-27.

Their decision to do so will allow London manager Paul Coggins to select from a full panel for their Connacht SFC opener against Leitrim.

There were fears that 12 London players, including captain Sean McVeigh, would be ineligible to play against Leitrim on June 3 due to a new GAA rule which was recently adopted.

The law, which was passed at GAA Congress last month, rules that a player cannot play for a county team unless they have played in that county's club Championship either in the year in question or in the previous year.

It has become known as the 'Seanie Johnston rule' after the former Cavan forward's protracted transfer request to switch to a club in Kildare.

The London County Board held an emergency meeting last night to see if their clubs would accommodate Coggins' senior squad in allowing the club games to go ahead before the Ruislip clash with Leitrim, making McVeigh and company eligible for the Connacht SFC tie.

It is a big step for the London clubs to take considering that many of them are in the early stages of preparing for the club Championship and that players, both old and new, have yet to sign up for the summer games.

Coggins will be hoping that none of his players sustain injuries whilst on club duty, with the Leitrim game just a week later.

Speaking to the Irish Post earlier this week, the Exiles skipper McVeigh expressed his anger at the GAA's decision to proceed with the ruling.

"I'm sure there'll be some opposition from the clubs and I agree with them too, but the problem is that the GAA obviously just don't care about the game overseas," he said.

“As captain of London I’ll do whatever it takes to play for London. If I have to play Championship for Parnells, I will.

“I think the GAA should see sense and get rid of the rule for next year because it's a silly, silly rule."

Antrim native McVeigh was in danger of missing the Leitrim fixture as he has returned home in each of the past three years to play Championship football for his club All Saints in Ballymena.

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