Sunday 19 November 2017

Tensions mount during debate on cheating

Luke Fitzgerald and Paul Kimmage in The Left Wing studio this week
Luke Fitzgerald and Paul Kimmage in The Left Wing studio this week
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

"Could you pass me that bag?," Paul Kimmage asked as he settled into the Left Wing studio.

He had arrived with one of those sturdy shopping bags that can carry a week's worth of groceries. Two ring binders, a folder, two stacks of paper, a notebook and a copy of Kimmage's book 'Rough Ride' were laid out in front of him.

This wasn't going to be a friendly catch-up. Kimmage came armed for his showdown with Luke Fitzgerald.

The 'Sunday Independent' journalist and the former Ireland international had agreed to sit down on this week's Left Wing podcast and hash out some differences - on the behaviour of the Dublin football team in the All-Ireland final, of what constitutes cheating in sport and whether rugby has some issues it needs to face up to regarding doping and pain-killers.

Kimmage challenged Fitzgerald on a tweet he sent the previous day that referred to his use of amphetamines during his time as a pro cyslist.

"Do you think I do this for fun?" Kimmage asked, pointing to ring binder number one, which contained documents from his five-year court case as a result of his crusade against doping in cycling.

The debate got heated quickly - Jim Gavin might describe it as a 'frank discussion' - and there was definitely an edge to the conversation.

Kimmage produced the GAA rulebook and slammed it on the table, only for Fitzgerald to return fire with a dramatic slam of his own as the debate turned to the difference between cheating and cynical play in what was a blockbuster showdown.

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