Michael Murphy: Suspicions may exist but drug culture has not seeped into GAA

The Donegal forward believes that hard training and a proper diet is still the best way for players to get an edge over opponents.

Donegal's Michael Murphy is a brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports.
Donegal's Michael Murphy is a brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports.
Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

GAELIC FOOTBALL MANAGERS and teams are obsessed with finding an vital edge over their opponents but Donegal’s Michael Murphy does not believe that drive has opened the game up to performance enhancing drugs.

Murphy, as a brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports, was at Croke Park on Monday to speak about the benefits of nutritional supplements but stressed that good, old-fashioned hard work was still the key element for success on the Gaelic field.

“Every area of Gaelic football over the last number of years has been scrutinised and analysed and encouraged,” he told, ”whether it be nutrition, whether it be video analysis, whether it be recovery things like this that has come into the game, ice baths, the whole works, physios. It’s been really, really highlighted, every team’s trying to find a little bit of an edge.”

Murphy explains that supplements of protein and carbohydrates have benefited him as he seeks to get his body right amid a full slate of training sessions and high pressure championship games. The increase in numbers of players taking supplements on-board has led to questions about drug-testing and the possibility of increasing the sweeps among top level players. The forward has yet to be drug tested in his playing career but insists he would have no hestitation in stepping forward if and when his name is called.

He commented, “I know [drug testers] do be in quite regularly after games and there’ll always be a fear there. If there is always a suspicion out there, there will always be a fear.

I think most players, the large majority, virtually everybody is abiding by the rules. I don’t think there’s a culture that’s seeped into Gaelic at the moment. There may be suspicions out there but I really don’t think there is a link.

“Players are training hard and they’re trying to push boundaries. If they’re gaining an edge they’re just gaining an edge through a general balanced diet which many do too. Players just want to be looking at that.”

Gavin Cooney
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- Additional reporting by Fintan O’Toole

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