Wednesday 28 September 2016

Shelbourne midfielder Craig Walsh: 'I blew €1,500 in one day - five times my week's wages'

Irish Independent Exclusive

Published 23/07/2016 | 02:30

Greg Walsh. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Greg Walsh. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

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.

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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."

Irish Independent

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