Sport Ireland has revealed that Brendan O’Sullivan was suspended after testing positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine last year, but said that the Kerry footballer received a reduced ban as it was accepted that a contaminated supplement was responsible for the violation. 

The nasal decongestant and mild stimulant was made a ‘specified substance’ by the World Anti-Doping Authority in 2011.

The Sunday Independent revealed yesterday that the Valentia Islander had failed a doping control following Kerry’s Allianz Football League final defeat in April 2016 and subsequently served 11 weeks of a proposed 21-week suspension.

That suspension was lifted while O’Sullivan challenged the sanction at the GAA’s Anti-Doping committee and then at the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

After they upheld the suspension he served the remaining 10 weeks from 26 February this year and is now free to play again.

Sport Ireland said the reasoning behind the panel’s decision would be released shortly and that they could not comment on the case until that point.

O’Sullivan’s only appearances for Kerry since the failed test last year came in January’s McGrath Cup and as a substitute in the first round of this year’s league against Donegal.

While accepting that O’Sullivan’s violation was unintentional, Sport Ireland reiterated their advice to atheltes not to take supplements without professional guidance and to follow their risk minimisation guidelines.


“Sport Ireland can confirm that the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel has sanctioned Mr Brendan O’Sullivan for the commission of an anti-doping rule violation. 

“Mr O’Sullivan, a player with the Kerry Senior Football team, received a period of ineligibility of 21 weeks for testing positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine (“MHA”). Mr O’Sullivan was tested on 24th April 2016 after playing as a substitute for Kerry in the National League Final.

“He admitted that he had committed an anti-doping rule violation and engaged in a consultation process with Sport Ireland under the Irish Anti-Doping Rules regarding the sanction to be imposed on him.

“Sport Ireland accepted that it was a contaminated product case, that Mr O’Sullivan bore no significant fault or negligence and reduced the applicable sanction to 7 months.

“Mr O’Sullivan declined to accept the specified sanction and on 5th January 2017 the matter was referred to the GAA Anti-Doping Committee. The GAA Committee imposed a period of ineligibility of 6 months on Mr O’Sullivan following a hearing on 13th February 2017.

“Mr O’Sullivan subsequently appealed that decision on 16th March 2017 to the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel which imposed a period of ineligibility of 21 weeks on Mr. O’Sullivan following a hearing on 30th March 2017.

“Mr O’Sullivan was provisionally suspended from the 13th of May 2016 to the 28th of July 2016, a period of 11 weeks before his provisional suspension was lifted by the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel because the violation was likely to have involved a contaminated product. The remaining 10 weeks of ineligibility commenced on the 26th February 2017, the date of his last participation in the Kerry panel.

“The Disciplinary Panel, which is an independent panel of experts from legal, sports administration and medical backgrounds, has indicated that it will give its reasoned decision shortly and this decision will be published by Sport Ireland on receipt in line with standard practice, along with the decision of the GAA Anti-Doping Committee.

“Sport Ireland cannot comment on the detail of the decision of the independent Irish Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel until such time as that reasoned decision is received.

“Sport Ireland advises athletes there are no guarantees that any supplement is safe (free from prohibited substances). If an athlete chooses to consume a supplement Sport Ireland recommends they seek advice from a sports dietician and follow Sport Ireland’s risk minimisation guidelines.”