Neil Francis has spoken how the admission by former Irish international David Corkery that he suffered from depression and considered taking his own life has ‘horrified’ him.
Corkery, who won 27 caps for Ireland between 1994 and 1999, revealed in a candid interview in the Irish Independent that despite his persona of an on-field warrior, suffered from a chronic lack of self-esteem and struggled to deal with the tragic death of his own father, as well as a job he had no enthusiasm for.
“To me, the place (Tesco in Douglas where he was manager) became a concrete prison," he said.
"I don't know how you describe having a nervous breakdown, but I'd say I had about 20 in there, just crying, then the sweats.
“The alarm clock in the morning felt like the start of a death sentence, it was that awful.
“It got to the stage where everything I had done was now worthless, I was worthless. I had no control. It's a dark, dark hole, a desperate place to be.
The demons at night were frightening.
"I'm ashamed to say I even started thinking that it would be a relief to be told I had a terminal illness or maybe to crash on the way to work.”
Corkery credits his family and a phone call from Hugh O’Donovan for saving his life and his story has been widely received since it was published.
One of his former Irish team-mates Neil Francis spoke of his shock at the stress Corkery was under.
“I wasn’t that close to David,” he conceded on Newstalk’s Off The Ball programme, “but I was horrified to see what he is going through.”
The two men soldiered together at the 1995 World Cup, where Corkery was named Ireland’s player of the tournament.