Former GAA star under investigation for alleged fraud sought cancer treatment money almost a decade ago

Retired player requested €10,000 appearance fee at 2013 GAA finals in Asia that he claimed would go towards specialist medical treatment in US

The former GAA star being investigated for alleged fraud had sought money from people for specialist cancer treatment in the US almost a decade ago, according to a former GAA official.

The one-time official, from the GAA’s Asian branch, approached the sports star in 2013 with a view to inviting him to be a guest at the annual GAA finals in Asia in Malaysia that year.

The invite was made in person to the retired player on the fringes of the 2013 All Ireland Football final at Croke Park, during a meeting with another former GAA star.

Towards the end of discussions, the retired athlete requested an appearance fee of €10,000. This was rejected and the sports star was told that only travel and other expenses would be paid.


The former player then said that he had a serious cancer condition, which could only be treated in the US and that the money would be going toward his treatment.

“Our shock was evident and immediate, but he then quickly excused himself saying he would be in touch and that was the last we heard from him,” said the GAA Asian branch official.

The former player, who is not being named for legal reasons, has been accused of taking significant sums of money from people for specialist treatment for cancer.

The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau is investigating whether the retired player deceived friends and business acquaintances into lending him money for medical and other bills.

Detectives are examining whether or not he falsely claimed that he had cancer when he approached people looking for the money. The prominent former player is understood to have agreed loan arrangements with those from whom he took the money.

The sums involved range from a few thousand euro to more than €100,000.

Efforts to contact the former GAA star for comment have proven unsuccessful. He has not responded to queries by email concerning his financial dealings.

One source living in the sportsman’s locality told The Irish Times they made short-term loans, mostly of a few hundred euros, to the former player which he repaid.

It was also known within his local community that the former prominent star regularly claimed to own land overseas and that he was about to sell it netting him a financial windfall.

In more recent years, he told people who loaned him money that he was due to receive an insurance payout on a medical negligence claim.

One businessman secured a judgment against the sportsman running to tens of thousands of euro after he failed to repay him.

It has been claimed that the former player was playing golf at a well-known Irish course when he said he was in Seattle receiving specialist medical treatment.

In another arrangement, a couple gave the former player €5,000 after he approached the husband telling him he needed the money to travel to the US for treatment for the same cancer – multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer – that his wife was receiving treatment for.

The couple were subsequently repaid the money after repeatedly requesting the money back.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent