The GAA has confirmed that blood and urine testing for players will be introduced for the first time as part of the 2016 Anti-Doping programme rolled out by Sport Ireland.  

Chairman of the Medical Scientific and Welfare Committee (MSW), Ger Ryan, said that blood-testing has been a fact of life for many athletes in Ireland’s largest sports for a number of years, and it was inevitable that it would eventually be introduced to Gaelic games.

"The GAA has worked closely with Sport Ireland on this and the programme that will be rolled out – while meeting with Sport Ireland’s requirements in this regard - has been designed taking careful consideration of the unique circumstances of our amateur players, their support personnel and our team and training structures," he said. 

He added that he fully appreciated the additional inconvenience this would cause for players, but emphasised that that the GAA could not afford to be complacent in terms of the integrity of its games and that the testing programme was designed to ensure a level playing field for all GAA players. 

He said: "The GAA had formulated a new four year Anti-Doping Education Strategy for all levels of the Association to complement its existing initiatives, and that the main focus of this in 2016 would be on senior inter-county panels and support personnel."  

In 2015, 95 GAA players were tested as part of the anti-doping programme. 

The MSW also recommended that a concussion sub should not be introduced during games.