"It's going to be with me for the rest of my life": Davy Glennon reveals the depths of his gambling addiction

The Galway hurler opened up about his experience and asks the Government to take action on gambling laws

BY Sinéad Farrell 15:26 Tuesday 22 November 2016, 15:26 22 Nov 2016

©INPHO/Donall Farmer 

Galway hurler Davy Glennon is the latest GAA player to open up about his experience with gambling addiction.

The purge of gambling within GAA circles has come to prominence in recent years with Oisin McConville, Niall McNamee and Cathal McCarron, among those to publicly acknowledge their struggles with the condition.

Davy Glennon previously spoke out about his experience with the condition and last night, he appeared on Claire Byrne Live to tell his story and to plead with the Government to introduce new laws to regulate the betting industry in Ireland.

Recalling the origins of his gambling addiction, Glennon said:

"I started gambling when I was 16 years of age. It started off with a £2 to a £3 bet. As I got into the rush of gambling, bigger and bigger my bets got and the more I wanted to be in the bookies, the more I thought it was cool to be in a bookies, the more I had a few wins, the more of an urge I wanted to be there."

"Everything personal to me was going, I was selling stuff, it spiralled from there and I just wasn't able to stop it. I got a loan from the Credit Union, I got loans from banks. I sold my car. From then on, it was just years and years of pain and just my life was turned into a gambling rush and I couldn't get out."

Glennon then produces his mobile phone and puts on a Cheltenham race from 2015 which he claims marked a pivotal moment in his struggle against gambling addiction. Glennon had placed a €2,000 accumulator on the mare hurdle with Glennon due to collect almost €60,000 in winnings if the race favourite Annie Power came first.

The horse stumbled and Glennon plunged into despair, saying that he isolated himself from friends and was approaching 'breaking point.'

Similar to Oisin McConville, Glennon found solitude in his hurling but his addiction soon impinged on his form. Glennon started the 2015 Leinster Final but his gambling addiction issues impaired his mindset, and he was hauled off before half-time.

"I wasn't prepared properly for that match because there was so much going on in my life. I was taken off after 24 minutes in that Leinster Final and if there was a hole in Croke Park, I would have loved if it swallowed me up. I was totally distraught."

"Hurling and sport had covered up the cracks to a certain extent and kept me going but I knew that it had taken my talent along with everything else. It was only a matter of time before it was going to take my life and those thoughts were in my head."

A few days later, Glennon suffered a breakdown and admitted himself to the Cuan Mhuire rehabilitation unit for three months. 

"I told my mother I needed to do something and I needed to do something now or I was going to do something that I was going to be sorry for."

"I felt lonely, I felt scared but once I came to the gates, I felt a bit of security and safety to my life. When I entered the doors, I was thinking 'am I as bad as these people?' But I was actually worse, I had a disease that was so hidden and I hid it for eight years."

At the end of the piece, Glennon talks to addiction counsellor Alan Martin of Cuan Mhuire and outlines why he felt attending the facility aided him in his recovery. 

"It gave me time to figure out who I was. I wasn't a person growing up being a compulsive liar, I was a normal person. The thing I have to get to grips with is that it's going to be with me for the rest of my life until I go to the graveyard, it's never going to go away but it's going to be 'how do I keep that fire quenched and manage it properly?'"


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