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GAA confirms it will start blood testing in 2016

Previously the organisation had only tested urine samples.

The GAA is to introduce blood testing in 2016.
The GAA is to introduce blood testing in 2016.
Image: Mahesh Kumar A./AP/Press Association Images

THE GAA’S MEDICAL, Scientific and Welfare Committee (MSW) today confirmed it would conduct blood testing for the first time in 2016 as part of a new anti-doping programme to be rolled out by Sport Ireland.

In 2015, just 95 GAA players were tested and Chairman of the MSW, Ger Ryan, says the focus for next year will be on senior inter-county panels and supporting personnel.

“The GAA had formulated a new four year Anti-Doping Education Strategy for all levels of the Association to complement its existing initiatives,” he said.

Ryan added that blood testing was part of life for most athletes for a number of years now and so it was “inevitable” it would make its way into Gaelic games.

“The GAA has worked closely with Sport Ireland on this and the programme that will be rolled out – while meeting with Sport Ireland’s requirements in this regard – has been designed taking careful consideration of the unique circumstances of our amateur players, their support personnel and our team,” he said.

In June this year, Monaghan footballer Thomas Connolly was given a two-year ban after testing positive for anabolic steroids.

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Steve O'Rourke

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