Confusion and anger reigns in Irish sporting circles today as yet another day passes and no resolution of the problems arising from Michael O’Reilly’s failed A test.
We pose a number of questions which URGENTLY need to be answered, whilst appreciating that O’Reilly’s appeal must take priority.
Clearly the Irish boxing team’s remaining seven members need this issue ‘out of the way’ before they enter the ring themselves. Any resolution will be too late for David Oliver Joyce and for Steven Donnelly though who face touch opponents in Rio today.
One man who needs answers to many questions is Irish Interim Head Coach Zuar Antia who together with his lieutenants John Conlan and Eddie Bolger have been seriously let down – or should that be ‘betrayed?- by the Irish sporting authorities including the Sports Ministry.
First, news of Michael O’Reilly’s appeal. It has been confirmed by sources in Rio that after much deliberation and consultation with his advisers in Ireland, O’Reilly will NOT ask for results from the B test but instead launch a ‘direct’ appeal through lawyers in Dublin and is almost certain to take part in a Conference call – via Skype – when the Sport Ireland Anti-Doping panel meets to consider his case. His ‘legal eagles’ though will likely field most of the questions and pose some of their own.
As he is due in the ring on Friday time is of the essence, also taking into account that though he presently remains in the ‘Olympic Village’ he has been removed from the Team Ireland HQ and is unable to take part in any training in any boxing ring or participate in any sparring. Hardly the ideal way to prepare for the biggest tournament of your life.
SportsNews Ireland understands from sources in Rio, that O’Reilly himself was UNAWARE of the failed test and kept as much in the dark as Zuar Antia and John Conlan. So clearly there needs to be an “urgent” examination of how Irish Sport looks after its own athletes and how the different bodies each TRUST the others.
Michael O’Reilly (snr) has been speaking to some of the Irish media and had this to say according to both the Irish Sun and Sunday World:
“The boxer’s father is “100 per cent confident” his son will be cleared to fight in his opening bout.
Michael O’Reilly Snr told the paper: “It’s a load of s***e.
“He is not the type to take drugs, far from it.
“Taking drugs…it’s impossible. He wouldn’t be where he is if was into drugs.”
Mr O’Reilly concluded : “I have been speaking to him.
“He’s disappointed and he’s appealing it, there is nothing more we can do.
“He is 100 per cent confident he will be cleared.
“He’s upset and shocked.
He added: “He never took anything, trust me on that.
“They have got it wrong, 100 per cent.”
So that’s the latest news we have this Sunday afternoon – at least on the subject of the tests and an appeal – stay with us for more on this ongoing story.