McDonnell hits out at testing procedures
Down duo Mark Poland and Dan McCartan were randomly selected for the check, while Billy Joe Padden was chosen from the Armagh ranks. It was well after 11pm by the time the process was completed. That meant the Down pair had to get a lift back to Newry with the team doctor as the team bus had left long before. It also meant a long wait for McDonnell, who had traveled with former Mayo man Padden to the game.
“It wasn’t as bad for ourselves as we had just won the game, but you could see Mark Poland and Daniel McCartan, how disappointed they were, and the last thing they wanted to do was to hang about waiting to give a urine sample. If you’re in that position, having just lost a Championship game, then the only thing you want to do is to get home, not have some random stranger follow you about the place for hours.
“It was uncomfortable too for Billy Joe, having to sit for what seemed like a lifetime in a small room with two lads who he had just helped beat in a Championship match. That’s not a nice situation to be in.”
McDonnell is keen to stress that he is fully in support of the testing taking place. However, as the number of negative stories about urine testing stack up, he believes now, more than ever, it’s time for a different approach to be taken. Although assurances were given by authorities that blood testing for GAA players will not be introduced for another year at least, the Armagh captain believes it is something that the GAA should push to be introduced sooner rather than later.