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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Farrell: Gambling is biggest problem for inter-county men

8 November 2013; In attendance at the GPA AGM 2013 are Donal Og Cusack, left, Chairman of the GPA and Dessie Farrell, CEO of the GPA. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
8 November 2013; In attendance at the GPA AGM 2013 are Donal Og Cusack, left, Chairman of the GPA and Dessie Farrell, CEO of the GPA. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

GAMBLING is the biggest mental health issue facing inter-county footballers and hurlers, according to players chief Dessie Farrell - and the problem is only going to get worse, he fears.

High-profile players such as retired Armagh star Oisín McConville and current Offaly ace Niall McNamee have previously gone public about their gambling addictions.

GPA chief executive Farrell yesterday admitted: "What's been intriguing for us over the last 18 months or so is to understand the level of the problem out there.

"To put it in perspective, in our mental health programme, gambling would have the highest incidence of players presenting to our counsellors. Depression would be next, and you're working your way back from that. So it is a big issue.

"Socially, they're maybe not as active as other civilians in society. So they have time on their hands, particularly late at night ... and betting is just so accessible now," Farrell added.

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