Sunday 25 February 2018

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice calls for investigation into Brendan O'Sullivan leaks Sportsdesk

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has called on Sport Ireland to launch an investigation into the media leak that led to last month's Sunday Independent's report regarding Kerry footballer Brendan O'Sullivan's failed drugs test.

Two weeks ago the Sunday Independent confirmed that a Kerry senior intercounty football player had tested positive for using a banned stimulant, later revealed to be methylhexaneamine (MHA), with Kerry GAA later confirming that the player involved in the failed test was Valentia Young Islanders' clubman Brendan O'Sullivan.

Kerry GAA's decision to identify O'Sullivan as the player involved came 13 months after the initial test was conducted and after the ban had already been served in full.

Kerry board chairman, Tim Murphy, said on Saturday that Kerry GAA stood by their decision to keep the matter under wraps, and confirmed that they only publicly identified O'Sullivan last weekend because of the Sunday Independent's story.

Fitzmaurice echoed Murphy's stance on the issue in an interview with the Irish Examiner's Tony Leen on Monday, in which he reaffirmed Murphy's position that the Kerry GAA board had to reveal O'Sullivan's identity after they had their hand forced by the Sunday Independent report.

However, Fitzmaurice has now taken the matter a step further in calling for Sport Ireland to launch an investigation into the source of the newspaper's report.

“That's a huge question. The how, why and who leaked it to the Sunday Independent. Who leaked that report when it wasn’t finished?”

"We had a statement ready to go on this since last July, but it couldn't be released until the process was fully complete.

"Because this is a very robust process, you are guilty until proven innocent. Brendan was notified last May 12 at 10am, got a phone call. 'You failed a drug test, and by the way, you are banned for four years'.

"That call came from Sport Ireland, which said that under WADA regulations, he was now banned for four years.

"It was clear straight away what the contaminated product was because everything else he would have taken would have been through the Kerry set up.

"He didn't like the taste of the caffeine gel, he went and bought something off his own bat and it was contaminated. It took us 11 weeks to prove it was contaminated after being sent off to the labs for testing. Why everything takes so long in these things, I can’t understand."

The considered report into O'Sullivan's case was published by Sport Ireland last Thursday with the report revealing that O'Sullivan did not seek the advice of the Kerry nutritionist, the team doctor or his GP prior to taking the supplement, even though the the label on the product contained a warning that it was mandatory to consult with a physician prior to use.

O'Sullivan tested positive for methylhexaneamine ("MHA") after the 2016 national league final against Dublin.

Tablets from the tub used by O'Sullivan and tablets from an unopened tub were tested in by a WADA-accredited laboratory in Cologne. The results of the test and O'Sullivan's sworn testimony led to Sport Ireland accepting that it was a 'contaminated product case'.

He was given an initial seven month ban by Sport Ireland but this was reduced to 21 weeks after three appeals.

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