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Fake news gets a good run out before the Championship

By Declan Bogue

As with the lead-in to any Championship, the type of stories across newspapers and on the lips of people in bars, coffee shops or on the street are the usual mix of truths, half-truths and bum steers.

What we didn't expect to see was TV pundits joining the ranks of the wink and nudge brigade, specifically Sean Cavanagh using his appearance on Sunday night's Sunday Game preview show to big Monaghan, as well as note his brother Colm's ongoing injury and exaggerate Lee Brennan's difficulties with his hamstring in a recent league game.

Looking forward to their tie against Monaghan, Cavanagh stated, "(Monaghan manager) Malachy O'Rourke in my opinion is probably the second-most astute manager in Ireland at the moment, the way he has moulded this Monaghan team and brought in a lot of new players in the league. They have brought so many new faces that he hadn't done in the past.

"He is making preparations for a long summer. I think Monaghan are going to relish going there (Healy Park)."

Now, given it was Des Cahill chairing the discussion, it comes as no surprise to see that he wasn't pushed on who he feels is the most astute manager in the game. A pity, as that would have been the real juice, but journalism isn't really Des's thing.

The first year of a recently-retired player turned pundit is notoriously difficult. The pull of the dressing room, where Cavanagh still has a brother and men he soldiered with is still strong.

Reluctant as he may be to be straight down the line, there comes a time in that evolution when you have to divorce yourself from what goes on and realise that you now fulfil a much different role.

Back on the subject of misinformation, and Armagh selector Jim McCorry had a novel way of justifying Armagh's recent warm weather camp, which goes against GAA rules and could cost them the penalty of hosting one home game in the 2019 National League.

"As regards compliance with the April rule, we complied with that in terms of all our players were released to the clubs for club games. The final game on Sunday, the day we came home, was changed to Monday night so the games could have been played then," he said.

Problem. The April for clubs-only ruling has nothing to do with Rule 6.22, which outlines that county teams may not be permitted to host a training camp after the National League, unless they are within 10 days of a Championship game.

With Wexford, Tyrone and Dublin all in the same camp, the disciplinary structures are due to get a good early run out this season. What's the betting they leave it off to winter?

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