Northern Ireland news

Tyrone GAA's Cathal McCarron tells how he met girl (15) on Tinder

Tyrone GAA footballer Cathal McCarron. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Brendan Hughes

CATHAL McCarron has told of being questioned by gardaí over his involvement with a 15-year-old girl through Tinder.

The Tyrone GAA player said he did not realise the girl was underage when they arranged to meet using the mobile dating app.

He met with her last year despite being in a relationship with his current girlfriend, Niamh Delahunt, who is now pregnant with their child.

McCarron (28) was questioned by gardaí and a file was passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), but the matter has since been dropped.

In his candid new autobiography, McCarron said he thought the girl was at least 19 and only realised her true age when contacted by her father.

"The girl said she drove an old-style Jaguar. She sent me a picture of the car. It was harmless online chat," he said.

The Dromore man said he met with the teenager in Kildare town while on his way to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting in Athy.

"When we met, she looked at least 19 or 20," he said.

However, McCarron said he "started shaking with fear" when he received a phone call from the girl's father two weeks later.

The footballer said he was asked to attend Kildare garda station to be interviewed and "fully cooperated".

McCarron said he tried to get an injunction to stop a Sunday newspaper reporting on the matter, but the publication went ahead.

He said his girlfriend "broke down" when he explained what happened to her after the article went to press.

"I don't know what it is with me, but sometimes I just can't help myself from pressing the self-destruct button. It's not an excuse, but it is part of my addiction," he said.

Describing his girlfriend, McCarron said: "She means the world to me but, like most men, I love looking at beautiful women. I always have.

"I was on Tinder. I had no need to be near that service but I was. Why? Temptation. Curiosity. The hunt for a high that gambling normally provided."

McCarron described the relief as "overpowering" when he was told in July that the DPP would not be pursuing the matter as there was 'no case to answer'.

He added: "It has been tough for Niamh to rebuild trust in me, but I am prepared to try anything to ensure she does. I love her. I don't want to lose her."

:: 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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