DUBLIN, Armagh and Fermanagh have successfully appealed the official starting dates they had been given for resuming senior inter-county football training and can return earlier than expected.
Armagh and Fermanagh are now among the group of counties who are returning to training this Thursday, while new Dublin boss Jim Gavin can have his first session with his players on December 8, almost three weeks earlier than originally expected.
A new 'staggered' return to inter-county training has been introduced this winter, replacing the previous blanket ban on collective training in November and December that had frustrated some managers, especially those in their first season with a team.
Under the new system, teams can start pre-season training earlier but the exact date of their return depends on when they exited the championship last summer.
Dublin's semi-final loss to Mayo on September 2 meant they were not due to return until December 29. But they argued they should be allowed back on the same date as the other beaten semi-finalists (Cork), whose loss to Mayo took place on August 26.
Any teams who went out of the championship during August are allowed back on December 8 and Dublin have now been given the concession of joining that group.
Armagh and Fermanagh also argued the GAA's timetable, which moved their All-Ireland qualifiers from June 31 to July 1, had also unfairly affected them.
Teams who exited in July cannot resume training until December 1, two weeks later than any teams knocked out in June.
In an effort to curb burnout, the GAA already has a strict training schedule to which underage county teams must adhere. County U-21 football teams cannot start training until January 1, minor hurling and football teams cannot start until a month later while U-21 hurling teams can't get together until after completion of the Fitzgibbon Cup.
Inter-county underage teams are also restricted to a maximum of three collective sessions – training and/or games – per week.