GAA Director General Paraic Duffy has reacted angrily to a suggestion by Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney that integrity was not rewarded in the GAA and that Seanie Johnston’s honesty in his controversial transfer saga was detrimental to the former Cavan star’s case.
Speaking to the Irish Independent in the wake of Johnston’s delayed Kildare debut against Cavan on Sunday the former Armagh captain hinted that Johnston’s case may have been hindered by his truthfulness.
“Seanie’s biggest problem was that he was honest from the word go,” stated McGeeney. “It was hard and I’m sure I’ll be getting more abuse about it. All I know, is he was available to play for Kildare. He was told he wasn’t wanted in Cavan so there’s no more to it than that for me. He’s a good fella. He’s honest and tried to do everything above board. But unfortunately in the GAA, that isn’t always the way to do it. You’re better being sneaky and telling lies on different things,” McGeeney said.
However Duffy hit back at McGeeney’s comments and expressed his disappointment at the former All-Ireland winner’s views. He defended the role played by the various GAA bodies involved in the controversy and the transparency of the process.
“I know Kieran McGeeney very well, but I would have to say that I am extremely disappointed with those comments. The facts are the matter are that CCCC (Central Competitions Controls Committee), as is their role, examined the transfer on two occasions and it was their job to establish whether or not the player was genuinely a permanent resident in Kildare,” he explained.
“The proof of the integrity of the process is that despite the reservations of CCCC and many people in the GAA, the CAC actually granted the transfer on a procedural matter and the player is now playing with Kildare. The integrity of the process is beyond reproach and there was nothing sneaky or dishonest about the way in which the GAA dealt with this matter.”
It is the first time that a senior official in the GAA’s administration has broken their silence on the matter.