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Van Graan feels for James Cronin after 'difficult time' around anti-doping violation

The prop was handed a month-long suspension during sport’s hiatus during the pandemic.

Image: ©INPHO

MUNSTER PROP JAMES Cronin accepts his share of responsibility and the matter of his anti-doping violation is closed as far as Johann van Graan is concerned.

The 29-year-old was hit with a one-month ban during sport’s Covid-19 shutdown this year after he tested positive for prednisolone and prednisone after Munster’s meeting with Racing 92 last November.

The length and timing of Cronin’s suspension took into account his explanation that he mistakenly ingested the banned substances because his pharmacy had mistakenly supplied him with medication for another man of the same name. Independent judicial officer Antony Davies noted that Cronin must also shoulder ‘some fault’ for the error.

Yesterday, the Irish Times reported that the matter could be reviewed after Sport Ireland this month announced new Memorandum of Understanding with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) allowing for increased sharing of information.

“If (the PSI) decide to carry out an investigation, there is potential, if there was anything else going on, that we might have more evidence, and could start a new case,” Sport Ireland’s Dr Una May told the Irish Times.

Van Graan, however, feels that Cronin’s case has already been thoroughly covered by the authorities.

“The process that took place was transparent and very comprehensive. One with clear supporting evidence at every stage,” said the Munster head coach.

“Everybody can see and understand why the sanction was imposed. And in the words of the judicial officer it was down to an unexpected and serious error on the part of the pharmacist.

Ultimately this boils down to human error. It’s led to a lengthy investigation and that’s what the EPCR finding reflects. It’s clear for all to see that the responsibility of the player was low, so from my point of view that’s the information that was given and I’ll rest with that.”

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Having served his ban from 15 April to 16 May, Cronin returned to training with a limited amount of Munster team-mates last month and Van Graan feels for the Corkman after the scrutiny he found himself under when the suspension was revealed in April.

“James went through a very difficult time, personally. 

“Obviously, in the background you’re still dealing with a person and I think the findings were very clear that there was human error involved and that this was a serious dispensation error. 

“You’ve also got to look at the person. There was a thorough investigation, there was a verdict given and there was a lot of coverage.

“He’s doing well, he knows the role he’s got to play and accepts responsibility for what happened.

“It’s never nice for any individual to go through that.”

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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