Tuesday 25 October 2016

Gambling issues led to drug use: Walsh

Craig Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile
Craig Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile

Former Shelbourne man Craig Walsh says he hopes to revive his career once his ban for having failed a drugs test is completed later this year.

And the 24-year-old, who tested positive for cocaine use last year, says it was a gambling addiction which led to him taking the drug, and he has spoken out about the lack of understanding within the game of gambling issues.

Walsh, who previously played for Shamrock Rovers and Athlone Town, tested positive following a Shelbourne game last September. Yesterday, the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel confirmed that Walsh's ban had been reduced, after an appeal, from two years to one, and the player will now be eligible to resume his career in September. The panel accepted Walsh's plea that his decision to take cocaine, on the eve of a Shels game, was a one-off incident provoked by his gambling problems.

In a statement issued by the PFAI, Walsh accepted his fate and said he wanted to resume his career "I hope to be back playing in the very near future and am determined to return a better player," Walsh said, "While the experience has been a personal nightmare, it has made me a stronger person with a greater insight to the extent of the issues I had been dealing with. 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."

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