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Mooney lifts the lid on his battle with depression

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John Mooney

John Mooney

SPORTSFILE

John Mooney

John Mooney continued his rehabilitation with a sparkling 96 for Ireland at Malahide yesterday but it wasn't enough to prevent Scotland notching an eight-wicket victory in the dead rubber of the three-match ODI series.

Mooney, who was unable to complete Ireland's tour of the Caribbean tour in February, has revealed the details of a two-year battle with depression that led to heavy drinking and had him contemplating suicide.

"For a number of years, I had started to withdraw from everyday life," he told RTE. "The drinking excessively as well is never good and you're masking your feelings. A lot of men don't talk about their feelings. I've spent 20 years bottling up mine.

"I've had suicidal thoughts. I've had to tell my wife about it. She was devastated. That was the first time I had to go into St Pat's (St Patrick's Mental Hospital).

"It would have been an easy decision to have gone through with the plan I had. The thoughts come like you're having a craving, they just pop into your head. It's very difficult to explain."

Mooney is full of praise for the way he has been helped by his employers.

"Cricket Ireland have been superb," he said. "I told them straightaway and they managed to keep me going until it just came to a head in the Caribbean. I'd been in bed for a couple of days. We'd played a game. I had a couple of too many drinks. We had a training session the next day and I wasn't in the frame of mind to get up out of bed.

Sheets

"It was a really, really bad place. I've had days and weeks like that in the past, just luckily enough I wasn't on tour. Straightaway I knew. Simmo (Phil Simmons) and Niall O'Brien, my closest friend in the team - they were talking to me and I had the sheets pulled up over my head, I couldn't even look at them."

Mooney flew home to resume the counselling he had started two years ago and after a summer away from the limelight, he was recalled this week. He performed solidly in the opening two wins and was the star turn yesterday, hitting 14 boundaries as he lifted Ireland to 241-9 from their 50 overs.

The fairytale of a first ODI century was not to be, though, as the North County all-rounder lifted the penultimate ball of the innings into the hands of deep cover.

Ireland could have set a stiffer target with Kevin O'Brien (36), Stuart Thompson (22) and John Anderson (19) all getting starts but failing to go on and as the conditions eased Scotland made light work of their task.

After man-of-the-series Craig Young struck early, a second-wicket stand of 179 settled the issue. Hamish Gardiner missed out on a century when he was stumped off Andy Balbirnie for 89 but Calum MacLeod was 116 not out when his side won with 26 balls to spare.

Irish Independent