Monaghan GAA player handed two-year ban after failed drugs test

A Monaghan GAA player has been handed a two-year suspension from the sport after being found to have taken the banned steroid stanozolol.

Thomas Connolly, who played for the Monaghan senior football team in this year's Dr McKenna Cup, failed an out-of-competition test on 13 February.

Connolly avoided a four-year ban after a GAA anti-doping hearing ruled that the violation was unintentional.

The player's ban is deemed to have commenced on 18 March of this year.

That was the date Latton club-man Connolly's provisional suspension began.

Connolly, who has the right to appeal, represented Monaghan at minor and under-21 level before playing for the county's seniors in the McKenna Cup.

Following news of Connolly's failed drugs test, GAA players body, the Gaelic Players' Association announced that it was assisting the Monaghan man.

Stanozolol is the anabolic steroid which Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was founded to have taken after he crossed the line first in the Olympic 100m final in 1988.

Johnson was stripped of the gold medal following his positive drugs test.

News on Connolly's ban was announced in a joint-statement released by the Irish Sports Council and the GAA on Tuesday.

The most previous high-profile GAA drugs test failure involved Kerry footballer Aidan O'Mahony.

O'Mahony failed a drugs test in 2008 but he avoided a suspension after a GAA anti-doping committee ruled that the levels of salbutamol found in his sample were "consistent with the inhalation of the substance" and "not intended to enhance his sporting performance or mask a performance-enhancing substance".

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