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Quinlan: I was hit by depression

Former Ireland back row Alan Quinlan has revealed how he sank into depression following the eye-gouge that forced him to miss the 2009 Lions tour.

Quinlan was banned for 12 weeks for the incident involving Leo Cullen in Munster's Heineken Cup semi-final defeat by Leinster in May last year.

His abrasive style had led to his shock selection for the Lions tour to South Africa.

Just days before the squad's departure, however, he was the centre of a storm that cost him basic earnings of £38,000 and the chance of being involved in one of the sport's greatest Test series.

In his autobiography ‘Red Blooded', which is launched today, he explains the repercussions also had a profound affect on his psychology.

“The act was brief but the consequences were almost a life sentence for me,” wrote Quinlan, who was 34 at the time and is now 36.

“In the 0.4 of a second it took for my hand to travel across Leo's face, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life, on my family's life. Within minutes of the game ending, my entire world plunged into darkness.

“I was about to lose my place on the Lions tour, be vilified in the press, damned as a dirty player. But having my reputation ruined wasn't the worst of it.

“Within hours of the disappointment of losing a semi-final to Leinster, I was battling something much deeper and much darker. I sank into a depression which took me months to get out of and, by the end, I knew how lucky I was to have come up for air again.”

Belfast Telegraph


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