Northern Ireland news

Tyrone's Cathal McCarron to retire from county football

Cathal McCarron has announced his retirement from county football. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Digital staff

Tyrone player Cathal McCarron has announced his retirement from county football.

The 2008 All-Ireland winner said "the time is right" for him to leave the inter-county game after more than a decade as part of Mickey Harte's panel.

McCarron missed Tyrone's 2018 All-Ireland campaign after he damaged his knee during their Super 8s match against Roscommon.

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"It's never easy to say goodbye, but I feel the time is right for me now," he said.

The 32-year-old transferred to play his club football in Athy in Kildare last year. 

"With the injury and the travelling, it has been getting harder and harder," he said.

"I wanted to take this time to thank all the GAA community that supported me through the tough times and the good times. It's been an incredible journey and I have some unbelievable memories that I will never forget.

"It's time now to sit in the stand again and watch Tyrone win another All-Ireland and more importantly spending more time with the family and enjoy some club football."

In 2016, the Tyrone star released a tell-all autobiography which gave details of how he appeared in gay pornography to feed a gambling addiction after fleeing Ireland under threat from the IRA.

He was paid £3,000 to appear in a video but said he gambled away the cash in just two days.

When the footage became public and made newspaper headlines, McCarron said he considered suicide or travelling to Mexico.

"I had sold my body. I had blackened my soul. All for just two days gambling," he said.

The defender, from Dromore, spent years battling gambling problems, with two prolonged spells in rehab and regular Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

Cathal McCarron released an autobiography in 2016

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The Tyrone county board praised McCarron's contribution. 

"Cathal represented us with great dedication and distinction for many years and takes with him a wealth of intercounty experience."

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