Shelbourne midfielder Craig Walsh: 'I blew €1,500 in one day - five times my week's wages'
Irish Independent Exclusive
Shelbourne midfielder Craig Walsh has warned of the dangers of gambling after yesterday's confirmation that he had received a 12-month ban after admitting taking cocaine.
The former Ireland underage international has spoken to today's Irish Independent and says it was his gambling addiction that led him down a destructive road in which he "hit rock bottom".
In a harrowing, personal account of the turmoil that gripped him, he admits gambling took over his life and he one day blew a sum of €1,500 as his addiction spiralled out of control.
Walsh - who had a brief TV career on soccer's equivalent of the X-Factor, Football's Next Star on Sky - tested positive for the presence of Benzoylecgonine, which is a metabolite of cocaine, on September 5 last. Having held up his hand and admitted his breach, his ban was reduced.
In a statement released by the PFAI (Professional Footballers Association of Ireland), Walsh revealed that he was battling depression for his addiction at the time of his offence and explained: "There is a lack of appreciation in the football community and society as a whole as to the detrimental effects of gambling and I would like my story to be a salutary lesson.
"I have been receiving counselling since the incident, which has been organised by the PFAI, which I have found beneficial.
"I am back on track now and I have offered to assist other players and give the benefit of my experience which I would not wish on anyone."