Reports that Seanie Johnston’s bid to achieve an inter-county transfer from Cavan to Kildare was over for this year have proved wide of the mark after the former Breffni captain resubmitted his application to the Central Competitions’ Control Committee yesterday.
Johnston’s club, Cavan Gaels, gave their blessing to a transfer to St Kevin’s, but, with Cavan County Board questioning the 27-year-old’s assertion that he is a permanent resident in the Kildare village of Straffan, the CCCC turned down the initial request.
An appeal was also rejected and the deadline to bring the matter to the Disputes Resolution Authority passed over the weekend.
Contrary to some suggestions, that has not precluded Johnston making another application to the CCCC, whereby he can provide fresh evidence supporting his claim to be living permanently in Straffan.
He would not have been allowed to introduce new evidence at a DRA hearing and had the DRA not ruled in his favour, he would not have been free to file another transfer application until next year.
Yesterday’s application included a copy of his lease for his dwelling in Straffan, correspondence from the Revenue Commissioner to his address in Straffan, as well as a number of utility bills, including telephone and electricity.
Johnston has attended a number of Kildare’s Allianz League games to date and mingled with players and backroom staff outside the dressing room after last Sunday’s defeat of Westmeath.
He has been training with St Kevin’s and the Kildare junior panel in recent weeks and clearly remains committed to pursuing his goal.
Meanwhile, Martin Clarke played his first AFL game in almost three years yesterday but it was in a losing effort, as Collingwood were turned over 137-115 by Hawthorn in a remarkable season-opener by at the MCG.
The Pies led at the end of the first quarter but were playing catch-up from the second quarter onwards. They only trailed by six points at the three-quarter mark but fell away in the final period.
Clarke was selected in midfield and accumulated 13 disposals, with a 77% efficiency rating with his passing. The former Down star bagged four marks and set up three goal opportunities, one of which was converted.
Much is expected of Clarke, who has been earmarked as a replacement for All-Australian Leon Davis, but given that this was his first competitive outing since round 12 in 2009, it was a reasonable, if unspectacular showing against one of Collingwood’s biggest rivals for premiership honours this season.
Meanwhile, the MCG was expected to be a highly-charged venue in the early hours of this morning as Melbourne got their season under way against a Brisbane team that included Pearce Hanley and Niall McKeever.
Melbourne are in mourning since the death of club hero Jim Stynes just over a week ago.
The Dubliner became only the third sportsman to be accorded a State funeral in Victoria and the Demons will be looking to provide a fitting memorial to the former Brownlow medallist with a victory.
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