Irish footballer Paddy Kenny has been banned from football for nine months after failing a drugs test.

Kenny, who plays for Sheffield United and the Republic of Ireland, was banned after a routine urine test in May.

Kenny apparently took an over-the-counter medicine which led to the ban.

Regulatory Commission chairman Christopher Quinlan said: "Whilst we found that the player satisfied us on the balance of probabilities that the substance was not taken with the intention of enhancing sporting performance, his admitted conduct displayed significant fault.

"A professional sportsman, including a football player, has a strict responsibility to ensure prohibited substances do not enter his/her body.

"In this instance Mr Kenny knowingly ingested an over-the-counter medicine above the prescribed dosage without reading the accompanying package or leaflet and without reference to his club’s doctor or other medical staff."

Kenny will now have to undergo "target testing" for the next two years.

Sheffield boss Kevin Blackwell said the ruling was "harsh." "We know Paddy’s not a drugs cheat and they’ve accepted that.

"We’re just considering our options. We think nine months for a mistake out of a medicine chest seems harsh.

"This case shows that before a player takes anything out of his medicine cabinet he has to check it intently.

"We’ll consider our options. It was a long day and at the end of it they accepted it wasn’t taken to enhance sporting performance. If you’ve got a bad chest and you take something to relieve pain it isn’t going to make you quicker, faster, taller."

"They (the FA) accept he didn’t take it as a performance-enhancing drug.

"He’s devastated – to lose any part of your career is particularly hard. We’ll have a chat about it tomorrow and see what we can do.

"My thoughts are with Paddy because to do something as innocent as that and get punished... it’ll take some getting over.

"He can’t train with any professional club. There’s a lot for him to take on board. His contract runs out at the end of the season, so a lot of things are going on in his mind."