Carlow GAA player confirms he...


Carlow GAA player confirms he will serve four-year doping ban

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Off The Ball exclusively revealed the identity of the GAA player that tested positive for meldonium in an out-of-competition test on February 18th.

Carlow footballer Ray Walker has confirmed he will serve the four-year ban resultant of his failed drugs test.

Walker says his acceptance of the ban is not an admission of guilt, and maintains he "did not intentionally take any banned substance".

The 35-year-old, along with the GAA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has until April 29th to appeal the ban.

Walker's statement, released by the Gaelic Players' Association reads:

My name is Ray Walker.  I am 35 years-old and returned to the Carlow senior football panel last November following a long absence.  I am the player who is at the centre of recent reports about an anti-doping violation.

In light of the 4-year ban which I now have to serve, which ends my inter-county career, and most likely my club involvement given my age, I want to put the following on the record.

I did not intentionally take any banned substance. Anything that was found in my system was there completely unintentionally. I cannot explain for sure how the substance came to be in my system but I was taking anti-inflammatories for a lower stomach issue around the time of the test.

I am accepting the 4-year ban because I want this episode over and done with and, at 35, even a lesser ban would still mean I was unlikely to ever return to playing.  It is not an admission of intentional wrong doing on my part in any way.

Finally, from the time that I re-joined the Carlow panel in November to the time the test took place in February, I did not receive any anti-doping training or education.

I will be making no further comment on this matter and would appreciate that the media would respect my privacy in this regard.

Carlow GAA released a statement of their own on Tuesday night:

Carlow GAA is aware that an adverse analytical finding against a member of its Senior Football Panel is currently under the consideration of the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

As the matter is still under consideration, we are not in a position to offer any additional comment until the disciplinary process is complete.

We ask that the privacy of the player and his family be respected.

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Anti-doping Carlow GAA Meldonium Ray Walker

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