Munster rugby player James Cronin hit with a one-month ban

Munster rugby player James Cronin hit with a one-month ban
Munster's James Cronin makes a break against Scaracens last December. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

CORK’S James Cronin has received a one-month ban for an unintentional breach of doping regulations.

That rules Cronin out until May 16 though Munster are currently out of action anyway in the Covid-19 shutdown.

Cronin was randomly tested for in-competition anti-doping following the Heineken Champions Cup, Round two match against Racing 92 at Thomond Park last November.

He tested positive for prednisolone and prednisone which are banned substances under Section 9 of the 2019 WADA Prohibited List.

A pharmacy mix up saw a Cronin receive an antibiotic and one medication that was not an antibiotic which contained Prednisolone, a banned steroid unless a player has an exemption from WADA for medical reasons. 

An independent Judicial Officer Antony Davies has decided that the Munster prop will be ineligible due to an unintentional anti-doping violation.

The player had no Therapeutic Use Exemption permitting the use of prednisolone and prednisone.

Cronin co-operated fully with a subsequent investigation of the case by EPCR, and the matter was referred for decision to an independent Judicial Officer, Antony Davies (England).

Prior to the match in November, Cronin had been unwell and had been prescribed antibiotics, however, the pharmacy dispensed medication along with a second medication to him which was intended for another customer.

The Judicial Officer accepted evidence that the banned substances in the player’s sample were due to a dispensing error by the pharmacy and that the anti-doping violation was entirely unintentional.

Although the Judicial Officer found that there was no significant fault on behalf of the player and that there were clear and compelling mitigating factors, he determined that the player had to bear some responsibility for what was in his sample.

It was therefore decided that Cronin will be ineligible for a one-month period from 15 April 2020 until 16 May 2020.

Davies said in his report that he was satisfied that the mistake was genuine and that the player had given evidence of his prescription, the pharmacy sheet which showed he received an incorrect medication as well as video evidence of the player in the pharmacy on November 22.

Davies handed down the one-month ban as the player had received two medications from the pharmacy but had not checked with the Munster team doctor if that had been correct.

The testing laboratory in Cologne that carried out the tests on Cronin’s sample stated that given the levels of the banned substance in his sample that the players’ explanation was entirely plausible.

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