LISTEN: Off The Ball's riveting interview with Cathal McCarron

Ger Gilroy interviews the Tyrone footballer

Tyrone, Cathal McCarron

Tyrone's Cathal McCarron ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

One of the most talked about Irish sports books in 2016 is one particular autobiography by Tyrone inter-county footballer Cathal McCarron.

Quite raw in many places, Out of Control details the corner back's issues with gambling addiction among other things.

The 29-year-old joined Off The Ball's Ger Gilroy on Thursday with a number of issues discussed.

It started with the gambling issues.

"It's character defects that I had from childhood I suppose and I found gambling as a form of an escape. And it took off from there," he said, also detailing the issues in childhood that he feels contributed to other issues in later life.

The full interview is available here:

"I suppose, at 16 years of age I placed my first bet and I'd say within two years, I was a chronic compulsive gambler and it took off from there." 

He adds that at the height of his addiction, many people wanted to help him but that at the time, he "didn't want help" as he sought the rush and high generated by gambling.

 

Tyrone's Cathal McCarron ©INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritchard

"It almost killed me," he said, although McCarron adds that Gaelic football was a salvation of sorts: "I love football and one thing gambling never took from me was football and no matter what I done or much money I blew, it never ever took away the power of football".

When he relapsed, it was online gambling that he then fell upon and the different impact that form has on gambling addiction.

"To have a €1,000 in your hand is quite a bit of money and then when you're putting it in digits into your computer, it doesn't. It's monopoly money. It's non-existent. It's so easy just to type and you press it and it's gone. It's like a land of non-reality," said McCarron.  

But the flipside saw him admit in just one example from the book, that he stole a chequebook from a long-time and close neighbour, among other revelations, which he says "shows the power of gambling to hurt the people you love the most and are friendly with the most".

In terms of that time, he says he "couldn't see what was right and what was wrong because I was so ill. I was actually insane and that's the way my mind was". 

McCarron also spoke about the incidents of violence mentioned in the book as well as the fact that "anger is a massive part of me".

More recently, in July of this year, the Director of Public Prosecution decided not to prosecute McCarron after it emerged that he had met a 15-year-old girl on Tinder.

The DPP accepted the defence of "honest mistake".

Ger put the matter and aftermath of it to McCarron, including a statement from the girl's family.

"I have no response," he said of that statement when it was read out to him.

He went on to say that: "All I'm going to say is I was fully investigated by the law of Ireland and there was no prosecution."

He refused to comment further on the matter.

The full title of his book is Out of Control: How my addiction almost killed me and my road to redemption and at the end of the interview, Ger asked McCarron if he feels he has been redeemed regarding the actions detailed in the book.

"I'm not redeemed. The day I'm redeemed is probably the day I die," McCarron replied.