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Ex-clubmate Canavan awaits as O'Rourke takes Monaghan job

By Declan Bogue

The appointment of Malachy O'Rourke as the new Monaghan manager was made official at a county board meeting last night, when club delegates passed him for a three-year term as recommended by the county executive.

O'Rourke becomes the first outside manager since Meath man Colm Coyle, who led Monaghan to a sensational victory over the then All-Ireland champions Armagh in the preliminary round of the 2003 Ulster Championship.

He succeeds Eamonn McEneaney, who endured a tough second spell as Monaghan manager, winning a mere four league games and one Championship match over the past two seasons.

Speculation will now rightly turn to the role of Aidan O'Rourke within the Down management team. The former Armagh player was interviewed for the Monaghan job, leaving his role within the Down set-up under question.

Malachy O'Rourke comes in with Monaghan facing next season in National League division three, in the company of other Ulster sides Fermanagh, Antrim and Cavan.

In a twist of fate, when he lines up to face his native Fermanagh, his former Errigal Ciaran team-mate Peter Canavan will be the boss of the side he took to an Ulster final in 2008.

Stranger still, O'Rourke won the Tyrone Championship in 2006 as Errigal manager with Canavan as his captain.

Sligo, Roscommon and Wicklow make up the other sides in division three in 2013.

Meanwhile, the GAA have moved to clarify a potential sticking point that will arise for man

agers over the coming months as they prepare for their players returning to training.

The controversial ‘training ban', who forbade teams to hold collective training sessions throughout the months of November and December, was scrapped at GAA Congress in Laois last April.

In its place, a new rolling training ban system was voted in, 84% of the vote approving this new move.

The problem however, lay in the ruling, that stated teams who exited the Championship in June could not return to training until November 15, while those that were knocked out in July had to wait a further fortnight, until December 1.

This season, the first round qualifiers were played over Saturday night and Sundays, with the Saturday night fixtures falling on June 30th, and the Sunday games on July 1st.

However, a GAA spokesperson has confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph that ‘all teams that went out at the Round 1 stage of the qualifiers can go back training on November 15 regardless if they played the Saturday or Sunday.'

This will be a boost to the new managers of Armagh (Paul Grimley) and Derry (Brian McIver) as they begin their preparations in their new roles.

Fermanagh players have already held a meeting and been equipped with personal training programmes ahead of the resumption of training in November.

Belfast Telegraph

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