All-Ireland winning Tyrone midfielder Conn Kilpatrick has opened up about his gambling addiction which saw him incur debts of between £10,000 and £15,000.
Kilpatrick was on cloud nine after Tyrone’s unlikely All-Ireland triumph last month, but just three years beforehand he ran up massive debts due to a gambling addiction that started innocently while he was a teenager.
It all came to a head in 2018 when Kilpatrick had just turned 21, after the Edendork man had resorted to borrowing thousands of pounds off friends and family.
The 24-year-old was speaking on RTE’s Claire Byrne Live and explained just how bad his addiction had become before those close to him were forced to intervene.
Conn Kilpatrick on his gambling addiction.
“I was borrowing from friends and family, my brother, my granny, different friends and just anywhere where I could get the money,” Kilpatrick explained.
“I was maybe saying that I needed to pay the car payment or I was going on holiday and was a bit short and I needed a bit more.
“To be honest, I could come up with a lie as quickly as I could do anything. Whatever I needed to say to get it, I probably did say it. When you look back at some of the things I said, it was crazy.
“I wasn’t a great person to be around. I was coming home and if I had won I was in a great mood but nine times out of 10 I had lost so I was coming in very moody. Nobody could talk to me, I was always snapping back.
“I just wanted to go into my room and get on my phone and see who I could borrow money from, the next person, and what I was going to gamble on the next day, what football or horses.”
Three weeks ago Tyrone footballer Conn Kilpatrick was celebrating an All Ireland victory in Croke Park. But three years earlier he was struggling with a gambling addiction.#CBLive pic.twitter.com/0msxZwKSkw
— Claire Byrne Live (@ClaireByrneLive) October 4, 2021
Kilpatrick says his life has changed after stopping gambling.
Kilpatrick first stopped gambling in 2018, but the Tyrone player relapsed 18 months afterwards, and racked up similar debts again before his family and friends intervened for a second time.
The 24-year-old now attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings, something which he believes has helped him stay away from his addiction.
The Tryone midfielder believes that his life, as well as his football, has greatly improved since turning his back on gambling.
“I’ve been off it now a year and a half and it has changed my life, both on and off the pitch. I can go to bed sleeping at night without worrying about who I owe money to, about where I’m going to get the money tomorrow,” Kilpatrick said.
“I can go to training. In the past I was going to training to probably get away from it and take a break from it but it was still hindering my football.
“Now I can go to training fully focused on the pitch and know what I have to do and know that nobody has anything to say to me.”