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Rory's story: How 'rotten core' of gambling in GAA led to creation of online sketches

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‘Sickening’: Rory O’Connor said gambling was being 'swept under the carpet' in Ireland during his Zeminar speech at the RDA yesterday. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

‘Sickening’: Rory O’Connor said gambling was being 'swept under the carpet' in Ireland during his Zeminar speech at the RDA yesterday. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

‘Sickening’: Rory O’Connor said gambling was being 'swept under the carpet' in Ireland during his Zeminar speech at the RDA yesterday. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

GAA sketch comedian Rory O'Connor has told of a "rotten core" of gambling within clubs across the country.

O'Connor - who created the popular online series 'Rory's Stories' - spoke of his own gambling addiction that led him to turn his life around and begin doing the sketches in 2014.

Speaking at the Zeminar event at the RDS today, he described the issue as "sickening".

O'Connor added that when he was feeling low, gambling would make him feel better and he became hooked.

"All along I was playing football and within the GAA there's a rotten core of gambling that's going on within GAA clubs all over the country," he said.

"Come Cheltenham, doing a warm-up, 'lads - did you back McCoy, did you back Ruby?'

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Paul Mannion: Learning Chinese was pleasure for GAA star. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Paul Mannion: Learning Chinese was pleasure for GAA star. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Paul Mannion: Learning Chinese was pleasure for GAA star. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

"And this was me."

He said the issue was "rampant" and "swept under the carpet in this country".

O'Connor explained that the video sketches were a turning point in his life.

At a separate talk, Dublin GAA star Paul Mannion gave a speech about the importance of language skills - and admitted how he had fallen into studying Chinese.

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This was despite him saying languages were his least favourite subject. "It happened by accident, essentially," he said, admitting he put it at number one on his CAO application, not expecting to get the points for it.

"That's when I started to panic - after struggling with Leaving Cert Spanish I was now facing the prospect of going to China and studying Chinese."

Despite his initial reluctance, Mannion said his years studying it were among the best of his life.

"If a guy who hated Spanish and hated Irish in school can go to China and learn Chinese, then I promise you anyone can," he added.


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