Thursday 23 January 2020

IABA clarifies claims that shamed Michael O'Reilly did not train with Irish team for eight weeks

Michael O’Reilly Picture: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE
Michael O’Reilly Picture: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

Sean McGoldrick

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association has moved to clarify the whereabouts of Irish boxer Michael O'Reilly prior to the team's departure to their pre-Olympic training camp in Rio.

Irish assistant coach John Conlan claimed yesterday that he hadn't seen the boxer for eight weeks prior to the squad's departure. O'Reilly was sent home from Rio for failing a dope test.

The statement reiterates the fact that O'Reilly took part in a training camp in Baku prior to the Olympic qualifier in June in which he secured his Olympic spot.

On his return he was recovering from a knuckle injury and had the flu but he trained with his local club, Portlaoise BC prior to the team's departure.

The full IABA statement reads: "The Irish Athletic boxing Association (IABA) can confirm that Michael O'Reilly was with the Irish Boxing Team in Baku, Azerbaijan from 2nd to 26th June partaking in both a pre-competition camp and he Olympic Qualification Competition.

"On his return home from Azerbaijan Michael had a knuckle injury and also had the flu. He trained at his local club, Portlaoise Boxing club during this period and joined up with the team when they departed for the pre-Olympic Rio Training camp on July 19th.

"Ireland’s remaining boxer Michael Conlan fights in his quarter final bout tomorrow at 15.30 Irish time. Our thoughts and good wishes are with Michael and the team as he prepares for this important contest."

Conlan's comments yesterday prompted further scrutiny of the preparation of the Irish boxing team, which will now be solely represented by Michael Conlan after Katie Taylor's shock defeat to Mira Potkonen.

Speaking on RTE today, Dunne was adamant that O'Reilly could not have been away from the High Performance Unit for that length of time.

“I think that one is wrong because Michael O’Reilly was in camp out in Azerbaijan. He qualified out there at the end of June and then the team went away on the 19 July to Brazil. So there is only really a two-week period where they are not around each other.

“He probably phrased it or said it wrong, because it’s not true.”

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