By Duncan Mackay

Martin Fagan_head_and_shouldersJanuary 17 - Marathon runner Martin Fagan was today, as expected, suspended for two years by Athletics Ireland after he admitted using banned performance-enhancing drugs. 

The 28-year-old from Mullingar tested positve for the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO).during an out-of-competition test at his training base in the United States last month.

He admitted at a hearing in Dublin that he had bought EPO on the internet and administered it himself ahead of a planned appearance at last weekend's Houston Marathon last Sunday (January 15). 

"Athletics Ireland and the Irish Sports Council jointly announce that the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel has determined that Martin Fagan, an athlete affiliated to Athletics Ireland, has committed an anti-doping rule violation," a statement said after the hearing.

"The Panel found that, contrary to Article 2.1 of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules, Mr Fagan, tested positive for the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolite or marker, recombinant erythropoietin, in a sample of his urine collected on behalf of the Irish Sports Council during out of competition testing at Tucson, Arizona on the 10th December 2011.

"Mr Fagan has been sanctioned, subject to his right to appeal within 14 days, by the imposition on him of a period of ineligibility for two years.

"The Panel has decided that because of the prompt admission of the violation by Mr Fagan the appropriate commencement date for the period of ineligibility is 10th December 2011, the date on which the sample was collected.

"The hearing was held under Article 8 (Disciplinary Process) of the Irish Anti-Doping Rules and this announcement is made pursuant to Article 15 (Public Disclosure) of the Rules."

Fagan's coach Keith Kelly said that the athlete was trying to "get back to nuetral" after a rash of debilitating injuries, which he claimed had caused him to feel depressed.

"If it wasn't Martin and it was someone I didn't know, I would be [angry] too," he said in an interview on Newstalk's Off The Ball.

"But the frustration soon disappeared and I just felt concerned for my friend.

"It began to make sense to me.  

"It wasn't about a performance-enhancing, he was trying to get back to neutral."

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