Thursday 8 December 2016

Players should not have missed Croker 'Laochra' show because of drug tests - Sports Council

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30

A view of the Laochra entertainment performance after the Allianz Football League Final
A view of the Laochra entertainment performance after the Allianz Football League Final
Jim Gavin: 'Laochra was taking place outside and we have four players in the bowels of the stadium, closed off with no access to the entertainment. It just doesn't sit right' Photo: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE

The Irish Sports Council has defended drug-testing which led to four Dublin and Kerry players missing the 'Laochra' 1916 Rising commemoration event after Sunday's Allianz Football League finals in Croke Park.

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Dublin manager Jim Gavin was critical of the process, claiming it could have been managed better.

"Laochra was taking place outside and we have four players in the bowels of he stadium, closed off with no access to the entertainment. It just doesn't sit right," he said.

"I think it could have been better managed. Immediately after games, in my opinion, it's not appropriate. They could pick a time during the week.

24 April 2016; A view of the Laochra entertainment performance after the Allianz Football League Final. Allianz Football League Finals, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE
24 April 2016; A view of the Laochra entertainment performance after the Allianz Football League Final. Allianz Football League Finals, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

"They could pop out to us or they could do it afterwards because every team would surely have some recovery programme going on the day after the game. There are plenty of opportunities to get samples," said Gavin.

Dr Una May, manager of the Irish Sports Council's Anti-Doping Unit, said the GAA had been notified of the tests in advance and that the four chosen players could have watched 'Laochra' before providing samples.

"There would have be problem with that. The players could have watched the show under supervision and been tested afterwards.

"We are always as accommodating as we can be. We know testing can cause frustration for sportspeople so we do our best to work with them.

24 April 2016; A view of the Laochra entertainment performance after the Allianz Football League Final. Allianz Football League Finals, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
24 April 2016; A view of the Laochra entertainment performance after the Allianz Football League Final. Allianz Football League Finals, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE

"Testing is nothing new in the GAA - it has been going on for over ten years and we'd like to think that we're always as accommodating as we can be," she said.

Gavin supports testing but believes it could be done at a more opportune time than immediately after a major final.

"I think the last thing players need is somebody coming down to have an invasive procedure take place," he said.

A total of 44 GAA players were drug-tested after 11 games last year with a further 51 having out-of-competition tests.

Irish Independent

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