Transfer mess only gets worse
More than a few of the delegates at the county committee meeting a fortnight ago were somewhat puzzled when they were confronted with making the decision on a couple of ‘contested’ transfers, many of them heading home without finding out why this was happening now - when they had never been landed with this responsibility before.
Well, apparently, they can prepare for more of the same on an ongoing basis because there’s a new rule which means it will be down to them make such determinations in the future.
Previously, transfer issues went before the CCC and, if they felt unable to make a decision it was passed on to the county executive committee for them to deal with.
Thus it was that the delegates found themselves asked to listen intently and adjudicate on a couple of cases, one of them an adult wishing to transfer from Gortin St.Patricks to Killyclogher St.Marys and the other an U14 player who was seeking a move from Donaghmore St.Patricks to Dungannon Clarkes.
They did not deal with the adult request because it was deferred in order to obtain further evidence surrounding the case, but they did successfully consider the move sought by the youngster.
Indeed, young Conor Loughran was present with his club chairman, Dungannon solicitor Chris Rafferty, and they outlined the reasons for the request.
In the eyes of some observers, it really was an open and closed case in so much as the young fella wanted to move to the Dungannon club, The Clarkes club wanted the lad to join them - and Donaghmore St.Patricks had given the move their blessing.
So what was the problem, you may ask? Well, it seems that, even though Conor‘s brother Caolan already plays for The Clarkes, the CCC apparently were sticking by the letter of the law in that the regulations would deem he should be playing for Donaghmore under the residency rules.
However, after a debate which lasted around half an hour, I’m told, the determination was that the transfer should go through.
As for the reason, it seems the criteria now includes a very important addition which weighs heavily in the adjudication, which is in respect of the club for which the transfer applicant’s father played.
Former White City man Tony Loughran played for The Clarkes, so the necessary box was thus ticked and the lad is now a Dungannon Clarkes player.
Staying with the topic of transfers and, while I really know I shouldn’t be, given that they are supposedly smart men, I am requently stunned at the manner in which the GAA top brass really mess things up bigtime - and it looks like they’ve done it again with the rule brought in because they found it so awkward to deal with the embarrassing issue raised by Kildare’s determination to recruit the services of Cavan reject Seanie Johnston.
For those who have been away watching matches in Outer Mongolia or setting up new clubs on the moon, their desire to have Johnston playing for the Lilywhites was so blatantly in contempt of the rule as to be laughable, even to the extent that he was reportedly living in his soon-to-be-adopted county whilst still teaching back in his native county, which would have involved a daily round trip of something close on two hundred miles - hardly a realistic situation.
In what seems akin to taking a sledgehammer to break a nut, their new rule has caused unforeseen problems for some member associations, most notably the London County Board, who called an emergency meeting last Wednesday week ‘to determine the fate of the county’s footballers, with their panel on course to be decimated’ by what is dubbed the Seanie Johnston rule.
Introduced last month at GAA Congress, this states that a player who wishes to play for a county team must first play championship for a club in that county in the current or previous season. As it stood, that would absolutely impact on twelve members of the London panel, ruling them out of their Connacht SFC clash with Leitrim at Rusilip on June 3.
London skipper Sean McVeigh, once of All Saints and Antrim, summed it up perfectly: “It’s an absolute disgrace that it has come to this. The big-wigs don’t care about football outside of Croke Park. That’s what it comes down to. We’re far out of sight for them, so they’re not worried about us. We’ve been making great strides so it would be a complete disaster for London football. It will destroy it.”
The board fortuitously managed to circumvent the problem by bringing forward the date of the opening round of their club championship matches to the last weekend of this month.
But they were very lucky to be able to do that - and in any case it’s far from an ideal situation, with both the club and county championship teams and their supporters clearly forced to bear the brunt of the far from impressive leadership of the Croke Park hierarchy.
Can you imagine the hue and cry there would be if the Tyrone county board had - because of a dopey new ruling by Central Council - suddenly to bring forward our championships and play them seven or eight days before the Red Hand county team played Armagh in the Ulster Championship quarter-final? Quite simply that would not be allowed to happen, whatever the reason.
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Weather for Dungannon
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North