Donegal captain Michael Murphy defends use of nutritional supplements

Despite never being drug-tested, Murphy says Gaelic games has no culture of doping

Donegal’s Michael Murphy:  “Every team’s trying to find a little bit of an edge”. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Donegal’s Michael Murphy: “Every team’s trying to find a little bit of an edge”. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho


Irish sports nutrition brand Kinetica are assuring all users their products are “safe and dependable” in light of fresh concerns over supplement use sparked by the positive doping tests of sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.

Kinetica also recently announced Donegal’s Michael Murphy as one of their brand ambassadors, and while he claims most intercounty teams now openly use such supplements, Murphy also admitted he has yet to be drug tested.

“I suppose every area of Gaelic football over the last number of years has been scrutinised and analysed and encouraged,” said Murphy, “whether it be nutrition, whether it be video analysis, whether it be recovery things like ice baths, physios, the whole works.

“Every team’s trying to find a little bit of an edge, whether it’s playing your game, or trying to get yourself recovered for a training session by taking the Kinetica supplements or other supplements that are out there.

“That’s something every management team or coaching team are looking at now. So ourselves in Donegal, we use it, whether it be the protein after the gym or whether it just the general carbohydrate recovery after a training session. Players find them definitely of benefit.”

While full details of Gay’s and Powell’s cases are still emerging, Powell is claiming an over-the-counter supplement brand is to blame for his positive test at the Jamaican trials last month. Gay has yet to identify the likely reason behind his positive test, although the American did say he “basically put my trust in someone and I was let down”.

There is a world of difference between elite sprinting and the GAA, although all intercounty players are subjected to drug testing under the Irish Sports Council anti-doping programme. While Murphy himself hasn’t been tested yet, and admits there will always be some suspicions about elite sport, he sees no reason why any GAA player should fear drug testing.

“I don’t think there’s a culture that’s seeped into Gaelic at the moment. There may be suspicions out there, but I really don’t think there is a link. Players are training hard and they’re trying to push boundaries. If they’re gaining an edge they’re just gaining an edge through a general balanced diet which many do too.”

“I personally haven’t been drug tested myself. I know they do be in quite regularly after games. If there is always a suspicion out there, there will always be a fear. I think most players, the large majority, virtually everybody is abiding by the rules.”

Safety claims
Kinetica is an Irish owned company and part of the Carbery Food Group, based in Ballineen, Cork, and makes the strongest possible claims about the safety of their products, even though the ISC continue to advise against the use of any such supplements. In a statement yesterday they assured users they are “about credibility and transparency across everything we do” and all their products are “tested within the framework of World Anti-Doping Association (Wada) to ensure that athletes and customers don’t inadvertently fail drug tests”.

The company also uses UK-based HFL Sport Science, one of the world’s premier independent drug surveillance laboratories: “In addition, Kinetica complies with all the relevant regulatory authorities on all ingredients and on-pack claims including the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).”

Murphy also spoke of Donegal manager Jim McGuinness looking for an “extra 10 per cent from everyone this year”: that may well be needed in Sunday’s Ulster final against Monaghan, a team McGuinness has yet to beat in the championship.

“Yeah, and I have played against them and lost twice and there is a large chunk of that Monaghan team still playing,” said Murphy. “That’s the mindset they’ll be going in with. They’ll be playing on their own patch, in Clones, with a massive crowd behind them.

“They’ll be bringing all that experience, it’s something we’ll be well aware of, and something we’ll have to counteract as best we can. And it’s a big challenge for us. We are going to need to improve big time from our performance against Down. We need to improve upon our defence, we need to improve upon our attack, whether it’s conceding less scores or scoring a bit more, and we weren’t really a goal threat the last day against Down. That’s something we have to improve on.”