Seánie Johnston looks set for a swift return to Breffni Park after Kildare were drawn to face Cavan in the second round of the qualifiers for the All-Ireland SFC this morning.
Brefni Park is of course the venue where Seánie Johnston made his name as a Cavan player and with whom he soldiered for seven years.
The Lilywhites were beaten by six points by Meath (1-17 to 1-11) in their Leinster semi-final on Sunday afternoon and now Johnston’s home county stand between them and the back door.
Johnston never got on the field against Meath, but his decision to declare for Kildare after securing eligibility by ‘playing’ a club hurling game for Coill Dubh has been a controversial one that has not sat well with many in his native county.
I don’t think there is any other sport or country, where a player could ‘play’ for less than two minutes (without touching the ball) in one code (hurling) and that would make him eligible to play for a representative side in another code (football).
It isn’t Seánie Johnston’s fault that the rules are the way they are but surely, the hierarchy at Croke Park need to re-draft the eligibility rules?
The whole affair has been labelled an ’embarrassment’ to the GAA by senior figures within the game and its hard to argue with that view.
While other players have transferred their county allegiance (most notably and successfully Shay Fahey and Larry Tompkins from Kildare to Cork in the 1980’s); these players had moved their whole lives to the county they then wanted to represent. Johnston merely works near Kildare.