Northern Ireland news

Mickey Harte gave Cathal McCarron All-Ireland medal in gambling rehab

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. Picture by Philip Walsh
Brendan Hughes

MICKEY Harte visited Cathal McCarron in rehab as the footballer battled his gambling addiction.

In his new book, McCarron has described how the senior county manager gave him words of encouragement on his road to recovery.

Harte also gave McCarron his All-Ireland medal from Tyrone's 2008 victory, as the Dromore man did not attend the winners' banquet due to his gambling problems.

The 28-year-old had been admitted in 2009 to rehabilitation centre Cuan Mhuire in Coolarne, Co Galway.

"Cuan Mhuire didn't allow visitors midweek, but they weren't going to turn Mickey Harte away," he said.

"Mickey is a special person. I got a warm feeling as we started chatting. I asked him if the door with Tyrone was still open for me.

"'It has never been closed, Cathal', was his reply.

"We spoke about life, about my recovery, about how Mickey wanted to play a part in that recovery. He knew football was my life.

"'If you focus on life, and on living life well, just think of all the possibilities out there,' Mickey said. 'Look at the football you were playing, with all that hell in your life. Imagine, just imagine, what you really could do if you got all of this sorted out.'"

:: Cathal McCarron's autobiography Out of Control, ghost-written by former Clare hurling goalkeeper Christy O'Connor, is released on October 20 through publishing house Simon & Schuster

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