'I was betting on reserve teams in Turkey': All-Ireland winner lost £68,000 in one day through gambling addiction

'I was betting on reserve teams in Turkey': All-Ireland winner lost £68,000 in one day through gambling addiction
Johnny McGurk of the Derry 1993 All-Ireland winning team who were honoured prior to the All-Ireland Football Final between Dublin and Tyrone at Croke Park. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Derry All-Ireland winner Johnny McGurk lost £68,000 in one day through a gambling addiction that saw him eventually spend almost six months in prison.

In a frank interview with Declan Bogue published in Saturday's Examiner Sport, McGurk, who won an All-Ireland medal 25 years ago this weekend, tells how he lost his marriage, home, and freedom through a crippling addiction that saw him defraud his employers of more than £500,000 to feed his gambling.

McGurk says: "During the 2006 to 2011 period, at one stage I looked at soccer bets and I was gambling £2,000 on a soccer bet on a Saturday. And thinking about these soccer teams for day after day after day, looking at their form.

"I had an account with an online bookmakers and over a period of about five or six months I was completely disciplined, just doing this soccer and winning.

"Until one day, I had 68 grand in it. And I put on my soccer bet as normal, the soccer bet lost and by seven o'clock that evening, I had nothing left.

"I mean, I was betting on reserve teams in Turkey. I had no comprehension of anything.

"I mean, you can drink, and you fall down. But you gamble, you keep gambling and I had no concept of money. I got myself into a cloud and you woke up in the morning saying, 'fuck this, I am not going back there again.' And then it would just eat at you again, and again."

Read the full interview in Saturday's Examiner Sport.

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