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addiction Kilkenny hurling legend Richie Power hailed after lifting lid on decade-long recovery from gambling

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Brave: Former Kilkenny hurler Richie Power

Brave: Former Kilkenny hurler Richie Power

Brave: Former Kilkenny hurler Richie Power

Kilkenny legend Richie Power has been lauded for the “bravery and honesty” which he displayed to lift the lid on the gambling addiction which the eight-time All-Ireland SHC winner has battled behind the scenes for the past decade.

When speaking to BBC Radio Ulster’s GAA Social podcast, Power revealed how gambling had “grabbed a hold” of him in his late teens before it eventually saw him “unofficially” released from the Kilkenny squad at the end of 2013 to deal with his mounting problems.

The two-time All-Star sought the help of the GPA before roaring back into action in 2014 for Brian Cody’s side but chronic knee injuries saw his career cut short following back-to-back triumphs the following year. The 36-year-old had never spoken about his gambling woes.

The Carrickshock attacker was hailed for doing so with former Galway hurler Justin Campbell insisting that it “takes the lid off” for those in a similar boat and highlights that “this can happen to anybody”.

“It was great to see Richie show such bravery to express what was going on for him. It’s probably so hidden and so secretive; drugs and alcohol issues are visible whereas gambling is the invisible disease,” Campbell, a leading addiction counsellor, said.

Limerick hurling legend Ciarán Carey, who works in the field of counselling, psychotherapy and addiction services, was also quick to point out how Power’s story will give others the inspiration which “they need to recover”.

“Fair play to him for being so brave and honest to tell his own story. Hopefully his story will help others who are in a similar position to seek the help they need to recover.

“I wish him nothing but peace, happiness and contentment going forward,” Carey said.

Campbell bemoaned the fact that gambling has been “normalised” in GAA circles with betting markets available for “every club player in Ireland” while he added that he’s “not surprised that we have young fellas that are €20,000 or €50,000 in debt at 20 or 21, it opens a Pandora’s Box with those options”.

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