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GAA: Tyrone manager Mickey Harte backs drug testing across Ireland

 

By Declan Bogue

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has suggested that if the drug testing carried out on Tyrone is replicated across Ireland, then the GAA have nothing to fear.

Asked about the advice he gives his players, the Glencull man revealed: "We are tested regularly as a team. We are tested three or four times a year, so if every county is tested to that extent - well that would be pretty diligent for all counties."

He added: "I am not sure that is the case, but we would expect it three, four times a year and we have got that over the last few years."

Harte also cautioned against some of the thinking that supplement use is rife among county squads, stating: "I wouldn't want to think that people are taking supplements of every kind all over the place, it's not like that. There may be some people who may try out something that they were advised to be of use to them as an individual.

"But it's not wholesale, that there is a boxload of supplements being presented all over the place. I think there's a great control over all of that with our team doctor and the staff."

He went on to explain the checks and balances that Tyrone employ, in the wake of Kerry footballer Brendan O'Sullivan's suspension for using a banned substance.

"Our team doctor Damien O'Donnell is very diligent in that particular area and has absolutely always warned the players, 'do not take anything until you run it past me, number one, and until I check that it's batch tested'.

"If it's batch tested and totally above board, and he gives the green light to it, then you can take things. This is ordinary, common medicines and everything else.

"He has them well-warned all the time, do not take anything until they consult with him. That's the standard that prevails here and that's been a success for us and I hope it continues that way."

Ahead of their Ulster semi-final against Donegal on Sunday week, Harte revealed that although they have lost defender Ronan McNabb to an ankle injury, his Dromore clubmate Cathal McCarron could be in line for a starting recall.

"The prospects are good for him too, well obviously better than the last time when he couldn't even be part of the 26."

While Justin McMahon is also making strides towards a full recovery, Harte added: "It's always good to have players who've been there and done it available, that is true, you just hope that the injuries they have had doesn't take away from what they can offer.

"We have to measure that up, when we play our own in-house game we'll have a better idea where everybody stands."

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