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Cork star calls for grants to be paid to GAA players after dispute over home doping tests

Diarmuid O’Sullivan has warned that a solution is needed before it escalates into something far more serious.

Cork All-Ireland hurling winner Diarmuid O'Sullivan.
Cork All-Ireland hurling winner Diarmuid O'Sullivan.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

CORK ALL-IRELAND winner Diarmuid O’Sullivan has hit out at the delay in GAA inter-county players receiving their 2017 Government grants over the GPA not signing up Sport Ireland’s new drug testing measures, which would allow home drug-testing to take place.

O’Sullivan, who was a selector with the Cork senior hurlers for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, believes it is not ‘a fair expectation’ as it involves amateur players rather than professional athletes.

It was first reported earlier today by the Irish Examiner’s John Fogarty, that the Government grants are being withheld with acting CEO Seamus Hickey sending a message yesterday to the affected players.

O’Sullivan, a Paddy Power GAA Ambassador, has expressed his criticism of the impasse.

“My view on this is very simple. These are amateur players you’re talking about here, not professional athletes so I wouldn’t see it as being fit or right for anti-doping tests to be carried out on these players outside of training hours.

“If they were being paid for a living to play GAA and drug testing was part of their contractual agreement then that’s fair. But I don’t think this is a fair expectation and 98% of the GAA fraternity would feel the same.

“These funds should be released immediately. These players are sacrificing enough. Their attendance at training sessions and dedication to an amateur sport already has a massive impact on their professional lives and indeed their personal lives.

“This money is due to them so I hope a solution is found fast before this escalates into something far more serious.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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