For those that marvelled at his sporting glories, Ois n McConville was a winner. In a career that marked him out as one of the greatest and most gifted footballers of a generation, his life appeared a constant triumph. In all, he won 11 Ulster titles and four All-Irelands for club and county, picking up two All-Stars and becoming the top scorer in Ulster football along the way. But it was only on the pitch that winning was easy. Struggling to match the excitement and noise of Gaelic football, his personal life collapsed around him as he failed to fill the void of daily life. Rumours began circulating in his home village about how drinking problems had led to the closure of his pub and how his attitude was ill-suited to a star inter-county footballer. But all missed his true failing- gambling. What started out as a habit, soon became an overwhelming addiction and, as his debts mounted, football became his only sanctuary. It was a place to escape from those he owed and from those trying to tempt him into further darkness. cConville has managed to turn his life around with the help of his family and has kicked the gambling habit for good. Now, as he goes in search of one more All-I
Ois n McConville made his senior football debut for Armagh in 1994, the team for which he still plays. In 2006, he became the top Ulster scorer in the history of the GAA. He plays club football with Crossmaglen Rangers. wan MacKenna is a sports writer with the Sunday Tribune. He started his journalism career with the Kildare Nationalist before winning the Peter Ball Memorial Sports Writing Award and moving to his current post.