Sunday 4 December 2016

Dublin boss Jim Gavin: GAA needs more drug testing - but do it at the right time

Published 04/05/2016 | 02:30

Dublin manager Jim Gavin Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin manager Jim Gavin Photo: Sportsfile

Dublin boss Jim Gavin believes there should be more drug testing on GAA players but wants procedures around the process to be tightened up.

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The double All-Ireland winning boss was critical of the testing in the wake of his side's fourth consecutive League final win that saw two of his players miss out on the post-match celebrations as they went through the process.

"My issue at the time was the doping control officer should have waited until the player came back in from that," said Gavin.

"Because once he makes contact with the player, the player has to go to that doping control centre.

"I'm not going to let my players be in breach of the protocols. The point is that the doping control officer shouldn't approach the player until all that is over.

"And then let him enjoy his post-match dealing with defeat or victory or those special times when you can have a little time with players, where you can soak in that atmosphere.

Dublin players Denis Bastick, holding his son Aiden, Cormac Costello, Diarmuid Connolly and Paul Flynn celebrate after beating Kerry in Croke Park Photo: Dean Cullen / SPORTSFILE
Dublin players Denis Bastick, holding his son Aiden, Cormac Costello, Diarmuid Connolly and Paul Flynn celebrate after beating Kerry in Croke Park Photo: Dean Cullen / SPORTSFILE

"Those precious couple of moments after a game. . . once that is over, then approach the player. Then go through the protocols.

"But not when a player walks down the tunnel after a game and the emotions haven't probably even left him.

"It's just about the right place at the right time. We fully endorse all that's been done by the National Sports Council.

"We don't want cheats in the game. We want the integrity of the game to be upheld."

Gavin is open to the idea of players being tested more often and says his issue with the process is with the timing of the procedures.

"There's probably not enough testing, if you look at the statistics," he agreed.

"The amount of inter-county players being tested, it's a very, very small percentage.

"But that's not this debate. My issue is with the timing of it. Let a player have their space for a few moments and then approach them. I understand they have a job to do.

"But they may be a little bit over-anxious to do it."

And as the debate rages as to where his Dublin team stand in comparison to the great sides of the past, Gavin is confident his players will remain focused on the task in hand as the look to retain their Leinster and All-Ireland titles.

"They're a very focused group of players. They know what they want to do and what they want to achieve," he said.

"They realise that there are no guarantees in their sport and we've always taken a one-game-at-a-time approach."

"Anything that they've done in the past, we don't trade off it. We learn lessons and move on."

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