Tyrone GAA's Cathal McCarron discusses new book at Belfast event
TYRONE footballer Cathal McCarron made his first public appearance last night to discuss his new book after weeks of controversy.
GAA fans gathered at Belfast's Crescent Arts Centre where the Dromore man spoke about the publication with former UTV sports presenter Adrian Logan.
McCarron last month published his tell-all autobiography about his gambling struggles - including how he appeared in gay pornography for cash to feed his addiction.
The event, with tickets priced at £8 each, went ahead a week after McCarron pulled out of BBC's Nolan Live just hours before he was due on air.
His publicist told the BBC he was unable to appear on the television show because he was ill.
RTÉ had earlier cancelled a planned Late Late Show interview after the father of a 15-year-old girl McCarron met through Tinder voiced outrage.
The Allstar nominee, who turned 29 yesterday, was questioned by gardaí over meeting with the teenager last year through the mobile dating app.
He said in his book that he did not realise she was underage. The Director of Public Prosecutions later decided not to pursue the matter.
McCarron's scheduled book launch party in Dublin, which included an introduction by Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, was also called off last month.
Speaking last night, McCarron said he "would not go into taking about" his meeting with the girl on Tinder as be had been advised not to.
But he said: "There was an incident a few months ago that shouldn't have happened.
"I shouldn't have been on the website anyway.
He added: "When you stop gambling it doesn't go away, so you look for highs in other ways."
Responding to controversy surrounding his book in recent weeks, he said: "I have had a hell of a lot of criticism as well as a hell of an amount of support.
"I can't change anybody of their opinions of me. All I can change is myself."
McCarron admitted that his gambling habit could not excuse his past incidents of violence, saying he had "anger issues".
"I have from about 15 or 16 years of age," he said.
"I still have a counsellor. Anger, it's something that doesn't go away. You suppress it."
Among those in the audience were his girlfriend Niamh Delahunt, who he praised for her support. They are expecting a baby together next year.
McCarron said if he hadn't sought help for his gambling addiction he would have ended up in a "body bag" or "in jail".
The footballer recalled the exact date of his last bet - more than two years ago on April 1, 2014.
But he said he is "far from cured" from his gambling addiction, describing it as being "like cancer".
"I wouldn't wish this disease on my worst enemy," he said.
"I wake up every morning, I just thank Our Lady for not having another bet today."
Cathal McCarron accepting his Irish News Allstar:
The footballer, who is training to be a psychotherapist, said there are "high-profile people" in both codes secretly suffering from gambling problems.
On how his online gay porn video became public, he said: "I will never forget that moment.
"There's no words out there invented that can say how bad that night was.
"I just wanted to die, and that's the truth."
Written with Irish News contributor Christy O'Connor, the book Out of Control has been nominated for Sports Book of the Year in the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards.