Friday 21 September 2018

Shamed boxer back home but won't talk about drugs scandal

Michael O’Reilly answers the door to Herald reporter Martin Grant in his hometown Picture credit: Damien Eagers
Michael O’Reilly answers the door to Herald reporter Martin Grant in his hometown Picture credit: Damien Eagers
Michael O'Reilly of Ireland poses with his gold medal following the Men's Boxing Middleweight Final. Picture Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Shamed boxer Michael O'Reilly lay low last night after arriving back in the country.

Our exclusive picture shows O'Reilly in his home in Portlaoise last night, after enjoying a BBQ with family and friends.

It is the first time he has been pictured since it emerged he failed a drugs test ahead of the Olympics.

He declined to answer several questions, including what supplement he took before the test. The boxer replied "no comment" to each question asked by the Herald.

Meanwhile, sporting bosses refused to reveal how much his travel to and from Rio has cost.


The Olympic Council of Ireland - which is significantly funded by taxpayers' money - has remained silent on how much it cost to send O'Reilly home after he was booted out of the Olympic athletes' village in Rio.

O'Reilly was seen arriving at his Laois home in the little village of Mountrath yesterday shortly after 3.30pm.

However, he hastily made his way inside when he arrived home at his modest house.

He bowed his head to the ground and dodged the waiting media in the quiet housing estate. The Herald watched on as several family members and friends arrived at the house throughout the day, offering their moral support to the boxer who was tipped for a gold medal at the Rio Olympics.

It is understood O'Reilly held a small BBQ for his family and friends.

Before the doping scandal emerged, O'Reilly had huge support from the local community.

A handful of tricolour bunting could still be seen dotted around a few houses, although nothing like a homecoming party awaited the boxer. Neighbours were very reluctant to talk about the shamed star.

One man described O'Reilly as a "good lad" while another said that he had make a "stupid mistake that he will regret".

The boxer did not emerge from his house yesterday evening after he arrived back into the country.

It is not known which airport O'Reilly used to arrive back into Ireland, however it is not believed he landed into Dublin Airport. Several sources said he was not spotted at the capital's airport. It is understood that he decided to arrive into one of the country's smaller airports - possibly Shannon - in order to avoid the media.


The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) also remained tight-lipped on O'Reilly's departure from the Olympic village in Rio.

Although OCI boss Pat Hickey confirmed he had returned to Ireland in an RTE interview, a spokesperson for the organisation refused to confirm if he returned to the country.

"Michael's whereabouts is a private matter," a spokesman for the OCI said.

"We assisted with his travel home as at all times we had a duty of care to him and treated him in a professional manner.

"The OCI does not discuss administrative information publicly," said a spokesman.

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