Olympics

Irish Boxing Coach Provides Depressing Details On Michael O'Reilly Farce

Irish Boxing Coach Provides Depressing Details On Michael O'Reilly Farce

There has been yet another development in the Michael O'Reilly saga, one that raises serious question marks over the fighter's preparations for the Rio Olympic games-which he was eventually sent home from for an anti-doping violation.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1 today, one of the Irish boxing team's coaches, John Conlan, said that he hadn't seen Michael O'Reilly for eight weeks before meeting him at Dublin Airport ahead of flying out to Rio for the Games. Conlan, in his son Michael's corner for his last 16 win on Saturday, pulled no punches on the subject of O'Reilly.

This has been a very difficult two weeks for Irish boxing. We had that whole scandal that shocked us. It shocked us as a team because, to be honest, Michael O'Reilly hadn't been with us for eight weeks. We met him in the airport.

Conlan stated that the news of O'Reilly's positive test was "a big, big shock to the team" and that the team had "talked it out" and "focused on the reasons why we were here".

And Conlan didn't mince his words when asked for his own opinion on O'Reilly.

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There is no getting away from it. It has embarrassed us as a team. He didn't train with us (before the Games). He embarrassed Irish boxing.

He brought a terrible thing to Irish boxing. And we're very strict on anti-doping...there is zero tolerance with us.

Conlan said that the team had tried to "put a wall around it" and praised their "outstanding" conduct in the aftermath of the revelations.

O'Reilly, who was sent home from a training camp earlier in the year for an alleged breach of discipline, is an "unbelievable talent", acknowledged Conlan -but, revealingly, he also admitted that the 23-year old could be "hard to handle".

Conall Cahill

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