Sunday 23 July 2017

Kerry GAA respond to anti-doping chief's claims that there will be no investigation into O'Sullivan leak

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Kerry GAA have responded to Dr. Una May's comments in the Irish Examiner with the Kerry county board claiming that senior football manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice did not claim that Sport Ireland were responsible for the leak that ultimately led to Brendan O'Sullivan's case going public.

Last month the Sunday Independent reported that a Kerry GAA player had failed a drugs test following the 2016 Division 1 final between the Kingdom and Dublin.

Kerry GAA later revealed that player to be Brendan O'Sullivan, who had tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine, with Fitzmaurice calling on Monday for the person who leaked the story to be identified.

Dr. Una May, Sport Ireland (SI) anti-doping chief, told the Irish Examiner on Wednesday that she had no reason to conduct an inquiry in her department about a leak to the Sunday Independent , and that an SI leak would have been self-defeating given the investment the body had made into upholding the integrity of O'Sullivan's case.

“Of course, it’s not in our interests to leak any information as everyone who tried hard to get information out of us at the time would know," said May.

"We weren’t in the business of leaking information. There’s no point in trying for us to even discuss a leak from our point of view because clearly, it wouldn’t come from us. If it was going to come from us it was going to come from us a lot sooner.

“We don’t leak information. The process is highly important to us. The case cost us a very significant amount of money and we would have followed this case already as we would every case with the highest possible level of integrity to make sure the athlete was given every possible opportunity to have a fair hearing.

“That’s clearly what happened because, if we weren’t offering him that, the case wouldn’t have lasted as long. The integrity of any case is critical and while we get frustrated that it takes a long time we will continue to maintain the integrity of the case right through until the final outcome is published.”

Kerry GAA responded to May's comments and said that Fitzmaurice did not say that Sport Ireland was responsible for the leak of Brendan O’Sullivan’s case, but rather that he merely asked where the leak came from, and that in their opinion, that query is still a reasonable request.

The Kerry county board also took exception to May's comments concerning a report that SI informed O’Sullivan over a phonecall that he had been suspended for four years for his positive test.

O’Sullivan was initially handed a seven month ban, which was then reduced by another month following an appeal to the GAA anti-doping committee, but Fitzmaurice said that he was originally told that O'Sullivan would be suspended for four years, a point that May insists is inaccuarate.

“To say that we would ring him to say he had a four-year ban — why would we? In all these years, we have never had a supplement case that would lead to a four-year ban.

"Until you hear an athlete’s story, you can’t possibly say it’s going to be a four-year ban. That’s clearly inaccurate and incorrect.

"Anybody who knows about anti-doping would know that would not be the case. It’s frustrating when there is misinformation put out there but it’s not in our interest or anybody else’s interests to drag the situation any longer.”

Kerry GAA counteracted May's denial of a four-year suspension with claims that they had received an email from Sport Ireland that had said that O'Sullivan had received a four-year ban.

A statement on the Kerry GAA website read:

"On May 12th 2016 Brendan O’Sullivan received an email from Sport Ireland at 10:23am  to follow up on an earlier phone call from Dr Una May.

"In this e-mail an attachment detailing his case, signed by Dr Una May, informed him that he was banned for four years until he could prove his innocence;

“3.1 Our records indicate that this would be your first ADRV and therefore pursuant to Article 10.1.1 Sport Ireland shall assert that a period of ineligibility of four (4) years (Article 10.1.1) should be imposed upon you.”

"Depending on Brendan O’Sullivan proving his innocence, the other reduced sanctions and when they apply, are also detailed throughout section 3 on consequences. We hope that this finally concludes this protracted process."

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