Monday 20 November 2017

Paul McGrath 'would love' to quit drinking

Paul McGrath: played friendly
Paul McGrath: played friendly
Laura Butler

Laura Butler

SOCCER legend Paul McGrath has said he "would love" to live the rest of his life without alcohol but becomes crippled with fear and anxiety.

The 53-year-old opened up about his ongoing battle with drink and admitted that there are times when he feels it "owns" him.

"I'd love to go the rest of my life not having a drink. There are times when drink owns me, times when it meant more than playing for Ireland. Nothing else matters, everything goes out the window, even your children," he said.

"All you are thinking of is your brain not having to think about things it is supposed to be thinking.

"I'd love to be able to say that I'll never drink again. But I honestly know that I'm going to be in a situation, maybe being asked to go to something, where I'm going to be gripped by fear. There are very few times when I'm free of that anxiety."

The ex-Ireland star continued: "Even a simple thing like going to the shops, I get a rush of anxiety ... I don't go to the big supermarkets unless I'm with somebody."

The retired defender, who is widely considered one of the best footballers to ever play for Ireland, got kitted out yesterday to take part in a friendly match between Ashbourne FC and Shamrock Rovers.

McGrath played for 45 minutes in the friendly, a match organised to mark the opening of Ashbourne's new pitch on their grounds at Archerstown.

Last week McGrath agreed to coach local children in Co Offaly, after admitting to public order charges at Tullamore District Court.

He was charged with intoxication and threatening and abusive behaviour, after attending a family wedding on June 29.

"The most upsetting thing was letting my mum down," he said of the incident.

"I didn't ring her for four days afterwards. I was nervous as hell, ringing my own mother to apologise, terrified of saying: 'Mam, I swear to Christ I didn't mean to end up in this crazy situation. I'm so, so sorry'."

Irish Independent

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