Paul Kimmage and Kerry legend Marc Ó Sé in compelling radio debate over O'Sullivan doping case
Paul Kimmage and Kerry great Marc Ó Sé have engaged in a compelling debate this evening over the failed drugs test of Kingdom footballer Brendan O'Sullivan.
As revealed by the Sunday Independent, O'Sullivan was found to have "unintentionally" consumed the banned substance methylhexaneamine ("MHA") and was suspended for 21 weeks.
O'Sullivan was tested after the League final against Dublin last year and it has been accepted by Sport Ireland that he "bore no significant fault or negligence".
But speaking on the Last Word with Matt Cooper on Today FM, Sunday Independent columnist Paul Kimmage questioned the transparency of the whole process before engaging in a lively debate with former Kerry defender Marc Ó Sé.
"It's a story about transparency and trust in the anti-doping process and the Irish sports council's role in that," said Kimmage on the Matt Cooper Show on Today FM.
"There has been unbelievable anger out there among other amateur sports people about what they have read with regard to this case and some of the stuff that has gone on.
And these athletes, cyclists, runners, rowers - they have no problem with what they are obliged to do in the fulfilment in the anti-doping process. So long as it is fair and transparent for everybody.
"What we are learning today and what we have learned as the pigs famously reminded us in Animal farm - 'all animals are equal but some are more equal than others' and this is the problem with this story now. There is a real sense the doping case is being managed rather than addressed and that is a very very dangerous game.
"John Greene (Sunday Independent Sports Editor) heard about this story and went digging and broke the story in our paper on Sunday and he tried to contact the Sports Council and try and find out what was going on and he tried to contact the Kerry County Board and he got very little insight from either of those people other than to say this is a process that is ongoing and we are making no further comment, that was from the Irish Sports Council.
"He breaks the story the Sunday morning (and) the Kerry County Board release a statement and now it gets alarming because they are not saying this is an ongoing process, they are saying that Brendan O'Sullivan has actually served his suspension, leading us to believe the process has actually concluded, a suspension was served and no-one has been told about it."
Matt Cooper then brought in Ó Sé and the following debate ensued.
Marc O Se: "No I had no idea what was going on.
Paul Kimmage: "Did you play in that game Marc?"
MOS: Paul I did, I was 37 on that day and I can tell you I had a bad day at the office marking Bernard Brogan. I remember it for all the wrong reasons. I think that...
PK: "This is important because you could really move this on for us. Now, do you remember the testers turning up and taking Brendan O'Sullivan - how many people were tested on that day?
MOS: "You wouldn't remember that. The only time I ever remember the testers is when I was tested myself. I was tested myself twice, once after an All Ireland final against Tyrone and the other one I think was two years later. What I will say is I know Brendan O'Sullivan is a good lad, he would never get himself knowingly into trouble and it's important to know...."
Matt Cooper: "So what happened?"
MOS: "What do you mean what happened?"
MC: "How did he end up giving a positive sample?"
MOS: "Look, again, I don't know the ins and outs of that, what I do know is that he was very much kind of, Brendan is very much like,,he is a good lad, I am sure all these players are taking supplements and he possibly took a supplement he shouldn't have, I don't know. The important thing to know about it is, and Sports Ireland have said this, that he didn't intentionally cheat. I think that is very important. At the end of the day this fella is an amateur. The fact that he was fully cooperating.... he didn't go out knowingly to gain an advantage..."
MC: "Hold on Marc, when you were on the Kerry football team were you taking food supplements?"
MOS: "Of course I was ye."
MC: "Were the food supplements recommended to you by the Kerry coaches? Were you told what to take and what not to take?"
MOS: "Awe ye ye. The dietician, doctors, everyone is in the loop....
MC: "Well then why did he go online and get something that was different?"
MOS: Maybe on Brendan's behalf, maybe Brendan was a small bit naive, if we are looking to throw the blame some place, maybe he was naive....
PK: "Marc, please indulge me here, I don't want to apportion blame to anyone regarding this, I want to bring some clarity to it. Now, you did become aware of this at some stage. If he has taken a supplement that is contaminated and he has tested positive for, surely someone in the Kerry team who knows about this has a duty then to warn all of the panel and all of the other players not to take the supplement. Were you informed about the supplement and not to take it?"
MOS: "Of course, of course players are informed about what they take...
PK: This supplement? Not in general terms, specifically?"
MOS: "Hold on a sec Paul. We are all aware of what you are entitled to take. What I basically said there was perhaps Brendan was a small bit naive in what he was taking, maybe he didn't realise the dangers that are out there. He was on the Kerry panel, as you said yourself, he was trying to get on the starting team and he was doing his best. I don't think for one second, I know Brendan O'Sullivan, I played with him for a year, there is no way, I know the young fella, there is no way that he would go out intentionally and try and get an advantage over a player."
MC: "But Marc, presumably the Kerry management knew that he had a positive test. In circumstances like that, would they not have told the entire squad 'jesus lads, you cannot take anything beyond what the doctor here recommends you take because we have a problem because one of you did?"
MOS: "Like I said, we had no idea Brendan O'Sullivan tested positive. The first I heard of it was this weekend. The second thing is, what I am led to believe the reason this did not come out until now, what I am led to believe is that Brendan appealed the case and there was a few different appeals that went in and this only concluded recently. I am sure all of this will come out as time goes on but from what I am led to believe is that Brendan appealed and appealed again so that's why it hasn't come out until now."
At this stage Irish Independent columnist Dick Clerkin was brought in and he spoke about his experience as a player and how he believes there are no problems with drugs in the GAA.
Cooper then tried to bring an end to this segment of the show by inviting Ó Sé to speak.
MOS: "Is Brendan guilty of something? He is. He is guilty that he didn't follow the rules and he wasn't checking things up online and making sure he was adhering to the rules...
PK: "How can you speak for Brendan? Marc, you don't know about this until the weekend and you seem to know more than anybody."
MOS: "I am not saying for a second that I know, what I am saying is I know Brendan. I know Brendan as a person. Brendan is a good guy and I know...
PK: "A good guy, good has nothing to do with it Marc, I'm sorry."
MOS: "Brendan O'Sullivan is just playing football, he is an honest to God young fella. He is trying to do his best. Did Brendan O'Sullivan do something wrong? He didn't check out what he was taking."
You can listen to the show here
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