Conlan Snr contradicts IABA over Michael O’Reilly’s attendance

Coach John Conlan says IABA association president Pat Ryan should clarify matter

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) have been drawn into an ongoing dispute with one of their top coaches, John Conlan, who is the father of world champion Michael. The Irish bantamweight was beaten in Tuesday’s Olympic quarter-final by Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin.

Conlan said three days ago that he had not seen Michael O'Reilly for eight weeks before the middleweight became the first Irish boxer to fail a drugs test at an Olympic Games. O'Reilly was subsequently separated from the rest of the Irish team and sent home from Rio.

Following Michael's controversial defeat to the Russian boxer, John Conlan returned to the subject of O'Reilly's attendance at Irish camps suggesting that the boxer's coach Pat Ryan should be asked where he was. Ryan is also the president of the IABA.

“It was more than eight weeks. It was wrong,” said John Conlan in clarification of what he originally said. “Ask his coach (Ryan) where he was because any time a coach asked where he was, we got a sick note. If some boxer gives me a sick note, I can’t take a chance on him but that’s another story. We need to leave that one alone.


"I have a calendar with every date that guy was in camp but I'm not going to talk about that. Let the IABA put whatever they want out but I was there in the camp. Bernard Dunne wasn't there. Ten days that guy was in the camp with me, that was it. 96 days to Rio, I seen him 16 days."

Conlan had previously stated that O’Reilly’s positive test had embarrassed the country and the boxing association and that it had been left with the coaches in Rio to face the press and answer questions to which they did not know the answers.

O’Reilly will now likely face a ban from the sport.

Chief executive of the IABA Fergal Carruth said that the IABA would be conducting a review into the Rio Olympic Games performances and into the previous four years leading up to Rio.

He added that all matters would be closely looked at including the Irish boxers attendance at training camps.

"If you count down the days Michael O'Reilly was in Azerbaijan from June 2nd-26th and then he was in Rio with the Irish team from July 19th until he was sent home on August 9th," said Carruth.

“The IABA will be conducting a review of not only the Olympic Games but also the previous four years within the High Performance Unit in order to put in place a plan going forward and also to put in all supports necessary for the High Performance program to ensure success at the Tokyo Games.

“Any matters including attendance of our boxers within Irish training camps will be included in this review.”

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times