FORMER London GAA footballer Cathal McCarron has released his long-awaited new autobiography, titled Out of Control.
Irish Post contributor Christy O’Connor ghost-wrote the book with McCarron, which is available now via publishing house Simon & Schuster.
In the book, subtitled How My Addiction Almost Killed Me and My Road to Redemption, McCarron reveals his struggles with a gambling addiction in candid detail.
The 28-year-old made national headlines in 2014 after reports emerged of his appearance in a number of ‘gay-for-pay’ pornography videos, to fund his addiction.
McCarron, now in recovery, plays for Tyrone but trouble seems never too far behind the GAA star.
McCarron was scheduled to promote the book on The Late Late Show his slot was cancelled, which according to the Irish Independent is because the father of a 15-year-old girl McCarron had met on the dating app Tinder complained.
A launch event due to be held this evening in Dublin’s Russell Court Hotel has also been cancelled.
Here are seven of the biggest talking points from Out of Control...
1. Cathal McCarron gambled away £200,000 before his 21st birthday
McCarron reveals in the book that his addiction to gambling took hold in his teenage years while at school, and that by the age of 21 he had gambled away a serious amount of money.
“Before I was twenty-one, I had blown around £200,000, most of which I had stolen, the vast majority from my own father,” he said.
“When that wasn’t enough, I began breaking into houses to steal from neighbours and friends.”
McCarron revealed that he also considered assaulting his local shopkeeper to steal even more money to fund his habit.
“If I caught him unawares and hit him a smack, I’d have been able to clean out the till in no time,” he said.
2. He moved to London after being threatened by the IRA
McCarron’s many run-ins weren’t only with friends, family and teammates, but also with much darker forces.
“In the minds of some IRA people around the town, I had gone too far. I needed to be taught a lesson. Those people wanted to seriously hurt me,” he said.
McCarron said that before he left for London in 2013, he received a threat from a man on the street from the IRA.
"This wasn't just advice. He was carrying a threat from the IRA. He told me that if I didn't leave, I'd be shot. He said they were coming to the house that night to carry out their threat and shoot me," he said.
"At that stage I wasn't sure if I had much longer left to live. I was still in tears when I got home."
3. An ad in a London newspaper lured him into the world of porn
Down on luck in his new home, McCarron became desperate for a source of income – not only to fund his habit, but to live.
“I was on the train one day when I spotted an advertisement in the Metro newspaper looking for male models. I sent off a picture of myself in my boxer shorts.
“After a brief introductory chat, a girl asked me if I would be able to urinate in front of a camera. I was about to get up and leave until she said it was worth £200. I was unzipping my jeans before the words had barely left her mouth.”
It didn’t take long for McCarron to work out what was going on.
“A week later, they called me back. They were straight up. They weren’t a modelling agency. They were a porn company. They enquired if I’d be interested in some work,” he said.
4. He assumed he would appear in pornography with women
McCarron had initially gone along with the idea of appearing in pornography on the assumption that it would be with women, and was against the idea of working with men.
“When I came back to my first shoot the following week, I assumed it would be with a woman, or women. I love women,” he said.
“When the filming was over, I felt physically sick, disgusted that I had allowed myself to sink into such an abyss of degradation and humiliation.”
When McCarron learned of the paycheck involved, he quickly felt differently.
“As soon as I was handed a brown envelope with £3,000, that feeling began to dissipate. I walked across the road into a betting office and gambled away half of my earnings,” he said.
5. He was questioned by gardaí after meeting a 15-year old girl through Tinder
Despite being with his pregnant girlfriend, McCarron met another girl through the dating app Tinder last year.
McCarron says that the girl told him she was 19, owned a car and was in college. The truth was anything but.
“It was harmless online chat,” he explained.
But McCarron was soon “shaking with fear” when the girl’s father called him while he was at work to tell him the truth of the matter.
McCarron was questioned by gardaí but the matter was not pursued, with the DPP judging that he had ‘no case to answer’ in July.
6. He hasn’t seen his daughter in four years
The devastation wrought by McCarron’s addiction affected everyone in his life, not least those closest to him.
"My daughter will be eight in November. I haven't seen her in four years. I cannot even remember the last time I saw her. The saddest thing of all is that she could walk past me in the street and I wouldn't recognise her," he said.
“I’d give anything to see her now: to see what she looks like; to hear how she talks; to find out her interests, her hobbies. Just to talk to her would mean so much to me. It breaks my heart that I can’t. But I hope I will. Some day.”
McCarron said he could “fully understand” the mother of his child’s decision to “protect” their daughter.
“After all the harm I did to myself, after all the shame and embarrassment I brought to my name, she wouldn’t want her daughter near somebody capable of sinking into such an abyss of degradation,” he said.
7. He says his life is finally back on track
McCarron no longer gambles, but he says that the temptation will always be there throughout his recovery.
“I always have to keep working on myself; I can never hope that everything will stay the same as it is now; I can never get complacent,” he said.
“If I ever think that I have this addiction beaten, I probably will fall back into gambling again.”
McCarron is excited that he and his girlfriend are expecting a child together.
“Our future is bright. It’s a really exciting and happy time. On my journey, it’s a massive step to be planning a new family. But my daughter will always be part of my family,” he said.
Out of Control: How My Addiction Almost Killed Me and My Road to Redemption was ghost-written by Christy O’Connor and is out now via Simon & Schuster.