By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Waterford’s jubilant hurlers ran the risk of spoiling what was a red-letter day in their history when they initially refused to take part in the mandatory drug tests following last Sunday’s dramatic Munster semifinal victory over archrivals Cork at Semple Stadium.
Amid the celebrations after Ken McGrath’s late match-winning point, it emerged that Waterford were unwilling to allow two players go forward for the tests, which have been set up by the Irish Sports Council in conjunction with the GAA. However, when they were warned of the possible consequences of failing to comply with the regulations, the players relented.
With continuing controversy over tests, the results of which could affect the lives of amateur players, Waterford were adamant that they hadn’t been supplied with adequate information with regard to doping controls and were therefore initially reluctant to comply.
Al Guy, the doping control official who carried out the test that led to the suspension of former Olympic gold medal winner Michelle Smith de Bruin, was denied access to the Waterford dressing room and was only able to carry out the tests on Brian Flannery and Paul Flynn later in the team hotel.
Before agreement was reached, the Waterford county board chairman, P.J. Ryan said proper education in the area of doping controls hadn’t been provided to the players.
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“They’re not prepared to put their private lives at risk for an amateur sport,” he said. It has been said that taking four cups of the wrong type of coffee could make you test positive.”
Guy refused to comment on the controversy, but has submitted a report on the incident to both the GAA and the Sports Councils.