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All-Star Hurler Maurice Shanahan Opens Up Regarding Suicide Attempts

PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Earlier this month, Maurice Shanahan spoke to RTÉ regarding his troubles with depression last year.

The All-Star hurler told of simply wanting to 'lock himself away' from the world.

For months, Shanahan endured a personal hell before getting the help he required.

Talking to WLR FM on Monday morning, the Waterford man elaborated further about his struggles and spoke about attempting to take his own life.

I don't remember much about doing it. I did think about it for a long time. I thought about it for a week or two before I attempted it. I got home one Sunday evening and I took an overdose.

I texted my sister after taking it, around an hour later. I texted her because I thought, by the time it came that I would've been gone, I didn't want my parents walking in and finding me dead in the bed.

It would've been very hard on her to get that text.

When she got that text, it was unbelievable what I put her through.

Clearly emotional, Shanahan explained that dark thoughts persisted in the following weeks.

I remember waking up in the bed down in Waterford [in hospital]. I literally told my mother and my father and my whole family that I wished I was dead, I wished I wasn’t there. That went on for another week or two after that.

I remember one evening, I was sitting inside in my kitchen and my family were there and one or two others, friends. I told them that, no matter what, I won’t be here in two weeks’ time. That was wicked hard for them to hear. That was going through my head at the time, I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to live.

A second attempt shortly followed, but this one left him conscious of the strain it put on those around him.

I suppose when I left the hospital, I still had the thoughts in my head. One evening, I went for a walk and the whole of Lismore was out looking for me. They found me in time.

That evening I went home - after the second time - and I could see the way my parents were, I could see the way my friends were. They were just distraught.

His brother Dan - the 2007 Hurler of the Year - was akin to a 'bodyguard' for his younger sibling.


With tears in his eyes, Dan Shanahan laid out the possible repercussions of Maurice's attempts to kill himself.


Dan locked me into the shed at home. He said stuff that really hit home. He said that if I did what I was attempting to do, you're not just going to kill yourself, you're going to kill your parents, you're going to kill me.

That really hit home.

It really wasn't nice to be listening to that from your own brother and seeing the tears flowing down his eyes.

A local woman named Julie Landers put Shanahan in touch with Conor Cusask (brother of Donal Óg), someone who has faced his own demons in the past.

With the help of Cusack, along with the GPA, the darkness began to lift.

When Conor came to my house, the GPA got involved with Conor aswell. I went away for three or four days. I'd be a real home bird and I didn't like that. But when I was away for those three or four days, it really hit home because of the counselling I was getting was unbelievable.

Every Wednesday, I would've went to counselling for two or three months. It was unbelievable in those meetings, the hurt and pain I was after causing everyone at home. I could really see myself coming on. I could really see my parents coming on a small bit. I'll just say a small bit, because they might still worry about me today.

Shanahan also cited the support of Sean Pender (the Lismore hurling manager at the time) and his Waterford and Lismore teammates as major factors in helping him overcome a dark period in his life.

2015 was a momentous year for the 25-year-old. He would finish as joint third top scorer in the Championship and pick up his first All-Star award.

If you or someone you know is struggling with similar issues, Samaritans operate an around the clock helpline on 116123.

You can listen to the full interview below.

Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

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