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Kerry star hires dope case lawyer

Leading Kerry footballer Aidan O'Mahony – the star at the centre of the GAA's first doping controversy – has turned to the solicitor who successfully represented Irish international rugby player Frankie Sheahan in a similar case in 2003.

Paul Derham, a former Munster rugby player, helped Sheahan to reduce a two-year ban to just three months in a case which also involved Salbutamol, a substance in asthma medicines.

Derham has been advising the Kerry footballer involved since he was informed last week that a test he underwent after this year's All-Ireland final against Tyrone had thrown up "an adverse analytical finding" for Salbutamol.

The player, who has been provisionally suspended pending an imminent hearing, is a known asthmatic and in a statement last night, the Kerry Board said that it is "confident" the player will be exonerated.

This is the first positive test for a Gaelic player since the GAA signed up to the Irish Sports Council's (ISC) anti-doping programme in 2001.

And it coincides with the likely introduction of even stricter anti-doping regulations for asthmatic players.

There is already a hot debate internationally about whether inhalers – or 'broncho-dilators' – can enhance performance.

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