The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the Irish and international amateur sporting and cultural organization promoting Gaelic games, has issued a warning to senior inter-country players to adhere to all revisions and updates to the prohibited-substance list of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The GAA said players should adhere to all substances, including the popular hormone and metabolic modulator known as Meldonium. The message by GAA is clear that all players who are subjected to anti-program of the organization should have a clear knowledge about what substances and medicines they can and cannot take.

Feargal McGill, the GAA’s head of games administration and part of Croke Park’s anti-doping committee, remarked the WADA code is essentially our code, in agreement with Sport Ireland, and similar to almost all other Irish sports. McGill added we had always make that point, and whatever changes are made to the WADA code is circulated and communicated to our distribution list, which includes administrators, medical personnel operating teams, and of course the players.

The GAA’s head of games administration also remarked there is of course the concern that some players might be negligent, or may not be aware of changes to the banned list and added the vast majority of players aren’t doctors or scientists. McGill added we are dealing with amateur players too, essentially volunteering for their inter-county team and said nothing about the Maria Sharapova case has changed that. The tennis star was recently provisionally suspended after she tested positive for Meldonium at the Australian Open. McGill also said that concern has been there since anti-doping was introduced into the GAA and it is an extremely technical area, extremely legal, and anyone who has ever been involved with an anti-doping hearing will understand that.

McGill also said we have no sympathy whatsoever for anyone who is caught with an anti-doping product, absolutely none, because our mission is to make sure our sport is kept a clean as possible. He added but there is always that risk of an inadvertent analytical event, and that does worry us. The GAA’s head of games administration also said our message is that players can never be too careful, and need to check, and double check. McGill added we have always advised players to be vigilant, and to be very, very conscious of what they are taking, because our nightmare situation is that someone gets caught inadvertently. McGill said the GAA has always emphasized that the best source of nutrition is to eat the correct food, the proper diet, and if you do that, then you do not need to use supplements.

Last year, Monaghan footballer Thomas Connolly tested positive for Stanozolol, after an out-of-competition test taken at the Monaghan county training session. The mandatory ban of four years was reduced to two years after it was claimed by Connolly that the anabolic steroids were not being taken with an intention to enhance performance but had been recommended to him in tablet form by a colleague at the workplace for reliving his back pain.

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