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Training Blues set to be lifted

CROKE Park authorities look set to allow new Dublin manager Jim Gavin to begin collective training with his football charges in early December, despite the rule stating a ban on doing so until two days before the new year.

Under current legislation, Gavin would be unable to assemble a squad consisting of any members of this year's panel until December 29, as the date of the end of their Championship participation this year was September 2, when Dublin crashed out to Mayo.

It was the latest date for a semi, since Tyrone and Armagh played on September 4 in 2005, prior to the inception of the controversial winter training ban.

It would, were the law to be strictly upheld, mean Dublin fall foul of the system by just 48 hours because of a later-than-usual date for an All-Ireland semi-final.

Conversely, Cork, who lost the other semi-final to Donegal on August 26, can, under law, resume on December 8. However, the Dublin County Board have written to the GAA seeking a relaxing of the rule and chairman Andy Kettle says the appeal received "a positive reception".

"It was raised and we haven't had an answer yet but there seemed to be a positive reception to it that because it was two days outside, that they could go back the bit earlier," he explained.

"That would mean they could go back in early December."

At his first media briefing as Dublin manager, Gavin said he expected to resume at the earlier date because "that is when teams who are involved in the semis can go back collective training".

He also signalled an intention to organise several trial matches for players outside of the 2012 squad in November upon the completion of the Evening Herald Dublin SFC.

Kettle, meanwhile, added that there was no decision from either Dessie Farrell or Shay Boland over the vacant Dublin U21 football and hurling manager jobs and he was optimistic of an appointment for the former before the start of November.

"The football is obviously more important than the hurling because it starts much earlier so we need to get that sorted in the next couple of weeks," he explained.


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