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'It Brought Tears To My Eyes' - Maurice Shanahan On Memorable Comeback After Suicide Attempts

'It Brought Tears To My Eyes' - Maurice Shanahan On Memorable Comeback After Suicide Attempts

In a captivating and emotional interview with WLR FM on Monday, Waterford hurler Maurice Shanahan spoke about a dark period in his life.

Last year, the 25-year-old twice attempted suicide.

Thankfully - with the help of family, friends and Conor Cusack and the GPA - Maurice overcame his troubles with depression.

2015 was a remarkable year for Shanahan. He starred in the Deise's run to the All-Ireland semi-final and won his first All-Star award for his performances.

In the interview, Shanahan tells of his return to hurling - a must-win game for his club Lismore.

His brother Dan and Lismore selector Mattie Prendergast were instrumental in guiding Maurice to a decision which eventually 'got him out of a rot.'

We were leading up the a club match against Roanmore. It was a match that Lismore had to win. The match was on a Saturday, below in Walsh Park. On the Thursday night, Lismore had their last training session. I never attended that training session. I never went up to the field.

I remember Sean [Pender, the Lismore manager], he called to Brendan Landers who would be a good friend of mine and still is a great friend of mine. Sean called him and said 'How can we get the lad to tog out on Saturday night?'

Dan [Shanahan] came home from the field that night Mattie Prendergast who would have been a selector with Sean. They got me out the back yard and Dan read out something that the lads said up in the field and that hit home.

We're one big family in Lismore. Everyone knows each other in Lismore. Everyone on the teams knows each other and we grew up together. When Mattie left that night, I told him 'I'll be there Saturday.' I told Dan that I'd be there on Saturday evening.

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Free taker on that night at Walsh Park against Roanmore; Shanahan stepped up - egged on by encouragement from teammates - to score a last minute winner.

To tog out in the dressing with the lads that were always there with me, brought tears to my eyes; running out onto the field with them.

We won the match. We beat Roanmore and we got to a county quarter-final.

But that day, we were nine or ten points up at half-time and Roanmore brought it back to level it. There was a minute to go and we got a free from 60 yards out.

I was the free taker. One of the lads turned around to me and said 'This is not a bother to you because of what you went through. You'd put this over in your sleep.'

The ball went over the bar and we won the match. We played a county quarter-final two weeks later against Ballygunner.

I said a few words after that match. I thanked everyone of the Lismore players and the club especially. Because it got me back hurling, it got me out of the rot I was in. I went back training with Lismore.

An important part of the Waterford senior hurling panel, speculation began about a return to inter-county hurling.

His brother Dan - a selector for Waterford - along with manager Derek McGrath decided it would be better for Maurice to wait until the following year's Championship to make his return.

On a July day at Nowlan Park, Shanahan stood on the terrace as his county lost to Wexford by a goal in the qualifiers.

Despite the loss, Shanahan was not far from the toughts of Derek McGrath. A text asserting his importance to the panel quickly followed Waterford's elimination from the Championship.

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Waterford were still going [in the Championship] at the time. There was talk about whether Derek would ask me back for the Wexford game. To be honest, I was glad he did - I would have loved to be there - but I was glad he didn't ask me back.

Dan texted me after the Roanmore game and said 'Look, we're going to leave it off. You'll be with us next year.'

I went down to watch Waterford that day in Nowlan Park and it broke my heart up in the terrace. It broke my heart that day watching Wexford beat Waterford. Travelling home in the car, I got a text from Derek - it wouldn't have been an hour after the match - saying 'We need you back next year.'

That meant so much to me.

His reintegation to the inter-county scene was further reinforced when he met teammates socially the next day.

The day after I met a few of the lads. Dan called up to the house and he brought me down to Dungarvan to meet a few of the lads, they were out on the beer. I had a few beers with them.

Jesus, it was like I was never away from it.

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

Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

Read: Davy Fitz Met With Maurice Shanahan For Two Hours About Overcoming Depression

Read: All-Star Hurler Maurice Shanahan Opens Up Regarding Suicide Attempts

You can listen to the full interview with Maurice below.

PJ Browne
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