Sunday 28 May 2017

Declan Lynch: How did gambler get invite to cup final?

A fool and his money are easily parted, but a gambler is a very different animal

Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

As one gambler called Sean Quinn Snr was getting out of jail for a few days over Christmas, another one called Tony O'Reilly was being sent down. The offences they committed had been quite different, with Quinn jailed for nine weeks for contempt of court and O'Reilly sentenced to four years with one year suspended for stealing about €1.75m from Gorey Post Office, where he was manager.

But they are both gamblers, on a grand scale. And as someone who has taken a keen interest in this area, I have sympathy for them – especially for O'Reilly, who has offered no excuses for his wagering €40,000 on the Norwegian Ladies football team with the money he stole, who has acknowledged his addiction and expressed a desire to help others and who, all things considered, has received a harsh sentence.

Indeed I have written about both men in the course of their struggles with the law and with Lady Luck, that baleful goddess who is probably the most unforgiving of all the foes they have faced. No doubt I will be returning to the plight of Mr Quinn, whose last words as a free man, before they drove him away in the police van, were "get me my pack of cards".

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