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GAA player accepts ban

Carlow's Ray Walker pictured with a county official during a 2013 game. INPHO/JAMES CROMBIE

Carlow footballer Ray Walker released a statement last week confirming the has accepted a four-year ban for an anti-doping violation. The 35-year-old Walker returned to the Carlow senior football panel last November following a long absence. He said: ‘‘I did not intentionally take any banned substance. Anything that was found in my system was there unintentionally. I cannot explain for sure how the substance came to be in my system but I was taking anti-inflammatories for a lower stomach issue around the time of the test. I am accepting the four-year ban because I want this episode over and done with and, at 35, even a lesser ban would still mean I was unlikely to ever return to playing. It is not an admission of intentional wrong doing on my part in any way.’’

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Kieran Fitzgerald in this year's club final at Croke Park. INPHO/TOM O'HANLON[/caption]

Meanwhile Kieran Fitzgerald has retired from senior football after claiming his fourth All-Ireland club medal with Corofin in January. The evergreen 39-year-old, who was on the last Galway team to claim the Sam Maguire Cup 19 years ago, was again part of the defence that helped to see off Kilcoo for the club’s historic three-in-a-row feat earlier this year.

-- Sean Creedon