Pics by Dylan McIlwaine
The newly formed Healthy Club Group in Con Magees were delighted to welcome Oisin McConville to our Club this week to kick off their Autumn catalogue of events. Our Healthy Club Group are focussing on the wider social needs in society beyond playing our national games and have some great initiatives in the pipeline.
The first of these was to invite Oisin along to share his life’s challenges with gambling addiction. McConville has 7 Ulster Championship medals, 6 All Ireland Club medals, 1 All Ireland Senior Football medal and 2 All Star awards but the focus of his talk on Wednesday night was his addiction to gambling and his recovery. Oisin spoke about growing up in Crossmaglen and how an innocent 50p bet on The Grand National in the local bookies at the age of eleven transformed his life into a spiralling decline of gambling addiction. He gave a frank and honest account of how he handled the decline and subsequent recovery and highlighted what to look out for and how best to handle addictive tendencies. Oisin stayed on well after his presentation concluded to take Q&A from the floor.
Despite his fame, Oisin came across as a very down to earth guy who had faced down his demons, beaten them and now wants to focus on sharing his experience in order to help others who may be affected directly or indirectly from addictions of all kinds. Indeed, when asked if he could arrive a little early and talk to some juveniles within our Club, Oisin welcomed the invitation with open arms and gave a compelling, age appropriate account of his life story.
Con Magees are deeply indebted to Oisin for the time he spent and would encourage anyone seeking help or advice on addictions, particularly gambling addictions to keep an eye open for future presentations given by Oisin. Everyone will come away energised and it may well be the turning point in someone’s lives.