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Dubs doctor: Kennelly and AFL trying to drag our young children over to Australia

David Hickey feels the doping scandal in Australian sport may hinder the AFL’s recruitment efforts.

David Hickey with former Dublin boss Pat Gilroy.
David Hickey with former Dublin boss Pat Gilroy.
Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

THE DOCTOR FOR the Dublin footballers has declared his pleasure that a doping scandal has rocked Australian sport during the ongoing Aussie Rules recruitment drive.

Dr David Hickey, team doctor with and three-time All Ireland winner for Dublin, spoke about his dislike for the AFL scouting combines, fronted by former Kerry GAA star Tadhg Kennelly, that are taking place this week.

In an interview with Newstalk, Hickey expressed his pleasure that young Dublin dual player Ciaran Kilkenny had returned home early from his brief Aussie Rules stint Down Under.

He said, “I think it is very timely that this report on Australian sport has come out, at this time, when Kennelly is around here trying to inveigle our young athletes to go to Australia.” Hickey added:

It is very heartening to see a player like Kilkenny, who could easily have made it there, decide that that world wasn’t for him.

“I don’t know the details of that but the violence and the drugs in Australian sport is legendary and I’m very glad that [it happened before] a recruiting drive to drag our young children over to that country.”

Kennelly at the AFL Combines at D.C.U today. (©INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

A form of child abuse

Returning to the subject of young Irish sports enthusiasts taking performance enhancing supplements and drugs, Hickey commented that there was huge pressure on young athletes to succeed.

He noted that up to 20% of high school or college students were taking performance enhancing or body-building supplements. Hickey added that the practice was ‘a form of child abuse’.

He declared, “You look at the bodies of children playing Junior Cup Rugby today, they’ve necks on them like adults.

“What happens, I think, is that these kids are told ‘Look, you’ve a summer off, come back 10 kilos heavier’. There’s no great direction about how it’s done.”

Hickey, who played for the successful Dublin team of the mid 1970s, also hit out at the burden of games placed upon talented Gaelic players. He commented that fixture, such as the Siegerson Cup, “enslaved” many young players.

He warned that it could well lead to burn out in the future.

*You can listen to the full interview here >>

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Patrick McCarry

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