The 2019 Sport Ireland anti-doping report has revealed four positive tests for banned substances are still pending because of appeal.

It emerged at the weekend that a Gaelic Games player had failed a drugs test and was appealing the decision.

Last week it was also announced that Munster prop James Cronin was to serve a one-month ban following an "unintentional anti-doping violation".

Last year, testing was increased by the Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Programme and the annual report indicates this increase has led to a jump in the number of adverse findings.

The number of blood and urine samples collected, from 36 different sports, climbed to 1,303, a 17% increase on 2018.

Out of competition samples accounted for 79% of the samples collected.

There were five adverse analytical findings, along with two other anti-doping rule violation cases in 2019.

Three of the seven have been announced, while the other four are pending.

Three of the pending relate to alleged presence of a prohibited substance, with one relating to the alleged evasion of a test or tampering with a sample.

Racing driver Stanislaw Ukieja tested positive for cannabis and was banned for four months in June of last year.

Similarly, wrestler Peter Newti was banned from competition for three months after testing positive for cannabis.

Footballer Brandon Miele received a two-year ban after failing to submit a sample when requested.

Caroline Murphy, chairperson of the Anti-Doping Committee of Sport Ireland, said: "Numbers, while low, are still somewhat higher than in previous years, perhaps reflecting the increased levels of testing.

"But whatever the reason, any adverse finding presents a challenge, a challenge to ensure that every athlete in every sport understands fully both their responsibility to compete clean and also how they can ensure they are actually doing so.

"We can only meet that challenge through the provision of widespread athlete education."

Meanwhile Sport Ireland say they will do their best to keep up the levels of testing despite the Covid-19 health crisis.

The report has a message from chairman Kieran Mulvey and chief executive John Treacy which reveals they are working with other industries to continue testing.  

It reads: "While we as a sporting community acknowledge that the health of our friends, family, the nation, is the most important thing right now, in a country where sport is key part of our social fabric we know that it will play a significant role when the country emerges from these restrictions.

"When that happens we want to make sure that all athletes are competing cleanly and with the utmost integrity. That is why we are continuing to work closely with our colleagues in the HPRA, Customs and An Garda Síochána and remain vigilant throughout this difficult period.

"We carry out our work for the protection of clean athletes and we thank all of our athletes that continue to represent club, county and country with honesty and integrity.

"We thank them for buying into the ethos of clean sport and thank those who advocate for the ongoing testing and prevention programmes.

"We acknowledge that is not always convenient, but the professional manner in which our athletes conduct themselves when there's a knock on the door is to be commended."