The GAA and Sport Ireland have confirmed that Carlow footballer Ray Walker will not contest his four-year ban for an anti-doping rule violation, after he originally lodged an appeal against the length of the suspension.

In a statement, Sport Ireland confirmed that Walker tested positive for the banned substance Meldonium in an out-of-competition test, taken on 18 February.

Meldonium is a drug which can increase exercise capacity in athletes and is the same substance which Maria Sharapova tested positive for, and was banned for taking in 2016.

On Tuesday Walker identified himself as the player who had failed a drugs test, amid earlier reports that an inter-county Gaelic footballer had done so.

Walker denied knowingly taking any banned substance and said: "I did not intentionally take any banned substance. Anything that was found in my system was there completely unintentionally."

The 35-year-old added that he would not be appealing the ban given that even a reduced suspension would see the end of his inter-county career, but in a statement, the GAA and Sport Ireland confirmed that Walker had initially lodged an appeal.

The statement explained: "Mr Walker has accepted a period of ineligibility of 4 years commencing on February 18, 2020. 

"In a doping control test at a training session on February 18, 2020, he provided a sample, which tested positive for the presence of a prohibited substance, Meldonium. Mr Walker was notified of the positive test on March 30. 

"On April 1, Mr Walker accepted the imposition of a 4-year ban and waived his right to a hearing. 

"On the April 8, Sport Ireland issued its reasoned decision to Mr Walker pursuant to Article 7.6.4, imposing the 4 year ban. 

"The reasoned decision referred to the right of appeal available to WADA, the GAA and to Mr Walker within 21 days of receipt of this decision by these parties.

"On April 21, Mr Walker filed an appeal of the reasoned decision and sought a reduced ban. 

"From media reports on Wednesday, April 28, it appeared that Mr Walker was again accepting a 4 year ban without the need for a hearing and yesterday morning, April 29, Mr Walker confirmed to Sport Ireland that he had withdrawn his appeal."

In his statement Walker said that he had received no training or education on anti-doping before leaving the panel in March. In their own statement released this afternoon, the GAA say that 36 members of the Carlow panel received "formal anti-doping" training this year and in 2019.

"The Association has trained a total of 46 anti-doping tutors and makes education available to its players through a combination of face to face workshops or through completion of the GAA's online anti-doping course. In excess of 2,100 players received formal education in 2019 in this manner. To date in 2020, more than 2,200 players have completed formal education.

"In addition, completion of formal Anti-Doping education before March 31st annually has been a pre-requisite for participation in the Government Support Schemes for inter-county players since 2018."