War of words continues as Kerry hit back at SI claims

Kerry GAA chiefs remain steadfast that Brendan O’Sullivan learned of his doping violation via a phone call from Sport Ireland, hitting back at comments from Dr Una May in Wednesday’s Irish Examiner.

Munster SFC semi-final

KERRY V CLARE
Sunday: Cusack Park, Ennis, 3.30pm

Referee: P Hughes, Armagh

Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice claimed earlier this week that O’Sullivan received a phone call from Sport Ireland at 10am on the morning of May 12, 2016 where he was informed that he had tested positive for a banned substance and was being served with a four-year ban.

Sport Ireland anti-doping chief Dr Una May rubbished this claim, adding: “To say that we would ring him to say he had a four-year ban — why would we? In all these years, we have never had a supplement case that would lead to a four-year ban. Until you hear an athlete’s story, you can’t possibly say it’s going to be a four-year ban. That’s clearly inaccurate and incorrect.”

The war of words continued yesterday as Kerry released a statement responding to what they term “claims of misinformation” by the anti-doping boss. Kerry top-brass indicate O’Sullivan was emailed at 10.23am on the morning in question by Sport Ireland “to follow up on an earlier phone call from Dr Una May”.

“In this email, an attachment detailing his case, signed by Dr Una May, informed him that he was banned for four years until he could prove his innocence,” said the Kerry statement.

According to Kerry, the email sent to O’Sullivan on May 12 read: “Our records indicate that this would be your first ADRV [anti-doping rule violation] and therefore pursuant to Article 10.1.1 Sport Ireland shall assert that a period of ineligibility of four (4) yearsshould be imposed upon you.”

Dr May insisted in Wednesday’s Irish Examiner that information pertaining to O’Sullivan was not leaked by the oversight body and undue focus was being put on this aspect of the case given Fitzmaurice’s assertion Sport Ireland should investigate how the Kerry footballer’s failed drug test became known to a Sunday newspaper.

The Kerry statement continued: “During his press event on Monday, June 5, Eamonn Fitzmaurice did not say that Sport Ireland was responsible for the leak of Brendan O’Sullivan’s case. He merely asked where the leak came from and this is still a valid query.

“We hope that this finally concludes this protracted process.”

Meanwhile, Kerry selector Mikey Sheehy has called for a later start to the Allianz football league, labelling as “crazy” the nine-week gap between their league final win over Dublin and their championship opener against Clare this Sunday.

“It is something the GAA are going to have to tackle. I’m not being selfish by looking at this from a Kerry point of view, but nine weeks is too long between league and championship. We had eight games in the league, which is probably a third of your season gone. That is crazy.

“You are coming into the best time of the year for playing football and I don’t see any reason why the GAA can’t start the league later in the year, like March or something like that. The gap to championship would be shorter and that is what the players want. OK, the players will train away, but they want games. This is a serious problem within the GAA.”

Sheehy described the league final victory as “very important” given Kerry’s failure to overcome Dublin during their previous five meetings. Nearly more pleasing, he added, was the bedding in of the panel’s newer members.

“It was very important because we had come out on the wrong side of a number of games with Dublin since 2011. It was an important game to win. For the first time in a while, we got a break with Dean Rock’s free hitting the post. Nobody knows what would have happened in extra-time. Outside of winning the league, the satisfying thing was Ronan Shanahan, Jack Savage, Gavin Crowley, and Jack Barry stood up to the mark. That is what the league is all about. You are hoping to discover players that will add competition to your squad.”


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