Ninety two inter-county GAA players were drug tested in the last 12 months, with all of the tests coming back with a negative result.
The figures were announced as the new season gets underway and anti-doping measures within the GAA start to become more active. The 2010 stats are one of the highest recorded since the GAA signed up to the Irish Sports Council’s anti-doping programme in July of 2001. It provides clear evidence that the GAA are taking the issue very seriously and expect to test even more players this coming season. It is believed that 60 per cent of the tests were carried out after matches, while the remaining 40 per cent took place when testers visited training sessions.
At one point the GAA were not very supportive of subjecting their amateur players to the same dope testing as elite Olympic athletes and sports professionals but it became unavoidable when the Irish Sports Council insisted that all sports bodies in receipt of funding were part of its anti-doping controls.
The Gaelic Players Association and Croke Park’s dedicated Player Welfare department are both responsible for educating players on the medicines that they can and can’t take under the current doping regulations.
Since testing began in 2001 there has been only one recorded case of a positive result from a GAA player. Kerry’s Aidan O’Mahony was adjudged to have “failed” a test but this was later overturned after he was able to prove that traces of Salbutamol in his sample were the result of him being a life-long asthmatic who used an inhaler for medical reasons.