Ah Jim Gavin, can’t beat him (unless you are Donegal) so you might as well join him.

The line Gavin delivered, seemingly devoid of humour, moments after Dublin paraded Sam Maguire around Croke Park in 2013 has a prophetic feel to it now: “I know from speaking to other managers they are already setting themselves up for the 2014 season,” said Gavin. “You know, we are probably already behind that preparation being done behind the scenes.”

All-Ireland champions not an hour, and Gavin decreed Dublin to be in negative equity.

They were on the backfoot, as Kerry and Donegal were already ruminating.

Anyway, the return to training rules – 6.43 of the GAA official Guide Part 1, to be exact – have been tinkered ahead of the 2015 season.

On Saturday fortnight the also-rans from the 2014 championship – London, Fermanagh, Derry, Offaly, Louth, Westmeath, Waterford, Leitrim – can rummage about in a collective sense.

Another 14 county panels may, if they wish, can gather on December 1st.

Gavin will be more than pleased to bring the Leinster champions back into formation as early as December 8th.
But there is a caveat in their favour.

Special dispensation will be granted so Dublin can convene ahead of the November 15th match against Ulster’s best at Ravenhill in a match to raise funds and awareness of motor neuron disease.

So, in a reversal to last year’s perceived disadvantage, created by success, Gavin and the Dubs will be trudging away before the rest of the posse can saddle up for 2015.

Changes to training ban
Rule 6.43 GAA Official Guide Part 1 (2014) Closed months/Collective training: Senior Intercounty panels may return to training for a following year on a time-table determined by their time of exit from the All-Ireland Championships in a current year as follows:

Exit June:
Commence training November 15th: Football (Counties defeated in qualifier round 1) – London, Fermanagh, Derry, Offaly, Louth, Westmeath, Waterford, Leitrim.
Hurling – Antrim, Laois.

Exit July:
Commence training December 1st: Football (Qualifier round 2 losers) – Antrim, Longford, Wicklow, Wexford, Cavan, Down, Carlow, Tyrone. (Round 3A and 3B losers) – Limerick, Laois, Roscommon, Clare. (Round 4A losers) – Sligo, Tipperary.
Hurling-Clare, Offaly, Waterford, Wexford, Dublin.

Exit August /All-Ireland Semi-Finals:
Commence training December 8th: Football (Qualifer 4 B losers) – Meath, Kildare. All-Ireland quarter-final losers – Galway, Cork, Armagh, Monaghan. All-Ireland semi-final losers – Mayo, Dublin.
Hurling – All-Ireland semi-final losers: Cork, Limerick.

Exit September (excluding All-Ireland Semi-Finals):
Commence training December 29th: Football (All-Ireland finalists) – Donegal, Kerry.
Hurling (All-Ireland finalists) – Kilkenny, Tipperary.

There shall also be a mandatory closed period for games and collective training of all senior intercounty panels from December 21st to 28th inclusive.

The commencement dates for the collective training of intercounty underage teams shall, unless otherwise approved by GAA’s Central Council, be as follows: Under-21 football – January 1st; Minor hurling and football – February 1st; Under-21 hurling – After completion of the Fitzgibbon Cup.(IrishTimes)
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