Sunday 21 January 2018

Tomás Ó Sé: I welcome testing but implications for players on a personal and professional level is too great

Harry Clarke

Tomás Ó Sé has called on the GAA to reconsider "allowing their players to be scrutinised" following the news that Kerry man Brendan O'Sullivan has failed a routine drugs test.

As exclusively revealed in the Sunday Independent, O'Sullivan was found to have taken a baned substance. Even though O’Sullivan’s breach was accepted as unintentional, the principle of strict liability applies in all cases under anti-doping rules.

This means that an athlete who tests positive is considered responsible for the presence of the banned substance in his or her system regardless of how it got there and whether they intended to cheat or not. In applying any sanction, a hearings committee can subsequently take mitigating circumstances into account when determining the length of a ban and so reduce it from the standard four years.

Speaking on the Sunday Game on RTE, Ó Sé backed O'Sullivan who he described as an "exemplary young man".

"To the best of my knowledge, until the report is concluded and sent to Kerry, Kerry are not allowed to discuss the exact nature of what was involved," said Ó Sé.

"But what are they to do? Announce it six or seven months ago and this fella to be going into work as an amateur being questioned about what he is after doing, what's he after taking?

"I welcome testing but implications for players on a personal level, on a professional level, I think it's too great. I think the GAA, the GPA should reconsider allowing their players to be scrutinised.

"In 14 years there has been two incidents."

When it was put to him by host Des Cahill that we only know about two incidents and we may not have known about this one if it were not for John Greene in the Sunday Independent, Ó Sé added: "It would have eventually come out. As a player when I was there, it's about being clever about being smart. When it plays its course I think we will find out exactly what he took and I think it will be foolish kind of (thing)."

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