GAA | Carlow’s Ray Walker receives four-year ban for failed drugs test

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Carlow footballer Ray Walker has accepted a four-year ban after failing a drug’s test in February, but denies intentionally taking any banned substances.

The 35-year-old has revealed that he is the player at the centre of the anti-doping violation after the Sunday Independent reported last weekend that an inter-county Gaelic footballer had failed a test following an Allianz League game.

Walker, who will also be unable to play for club O’Hanrahan’s for the duration of the ban, says he will not contest the charge.

Last year, Walker captained O’Hanrahan’s to victory over Kildavin-Clonegal in the Carlow intermediate championship final.

“I am 35 years old and returned to the Carlow senior football panel last November following a long absence,” Walker’s statement, released by the Gaelic Players Association (GPA), said.

 “I am the player who is at the centre of recent reports about an anti-doping violation.

“In light of the four-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 four-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 wrongdoing 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 also released an official statement to address the issue, which read:

“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.”