Carlow footballer Ray Walker has issued a statement admitting he is the GAA player who failed a drugs test earlier this year

Walker, who is 35, denies intentionally taking any performance enhancing drug but says he will not be contesting the automatic four-year ban. 

In a statement released by the Gaelic Players Association this evening, Walker said: "I am 35 years old and returned to the Carlow senior football panel last November following a long absence. I am the player who is at the centre of recent reports about an anti-doping violation.

"In light of the four-year ban which I now have to serve, which ends my inter-county career, and most likely my club involvement given my age, I want to put the following on the record.

"I did not intentionally take any banned substance. Anything that was found in my system was there completely 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 wrongdoing on my part in any way.

"Finally, from the time that I re-joined the Carlow panel in November to the time the test took place in February, I did not receive any anti-doping training or education.

"I will be making no further comment on this matter and would appreciate that the media would respect my privacy in this regard."

A statement from Carlow GAA said: "Carlow GAA is aware that an adverse analytical finding against a member of its Senior Football Panel is currently under the consideration of the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

"As the matter is still under consideration, we are not in a position to offer any additional comment until the disciplinary process is complete. We ask that the privacy of the player and his family be respected."