Liam Coyle: Former Derry City footballer reveals his battle with depression

Liam Coyle in action for Derry City Football club Image copyright Kevin Morrison
Image caption Coyle also played for Coleraine, Glentoran and Omagh Town during his career

The former Derry City striker Liam Coyle has revealed for the first time how he contemplated taking his own life during a low point in his career.

Coyle was one of most talented footballers to emerge from Northern Ireland and was tipped for stardom.

He said he battled depression after being told his career was over at the age of 22 because of a serious knee injury.

"You feel as if you're sinking lower and lower and there's no way out."

Liam Coyle, who also played for Glentoran, burst onto the scene during the 1988-89 League of Ireland season, scoring a hat-trick against Cobh Ramblers on his Derry League debut on 6 November.

He was also crowned Young Player of the Year, finished the season as a Treble winner with Derry and following in the footsteps of his father by winning an international cap for Northern Ireland.

Image copyright Kevin Morrison
Image caption Coyle scored a 90th minute winner to take Glentoran through to the Irish Cup final.

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, Liam said it was a league game at Dundalk in September 1989 where he sustained a serious knee injury and was told he would never play again, that changed everything.

"I'd gone from all those highs to having the rug pulled from underneath me. Once I stopped playing for Derry City I went on a downward spiral that I just couldn't get out of for a year and a half.

'Spiralling deeper'

"I was just spiralling, going deeper and deeper, there was no easy way of getting up every morning and saying this was going to be a different day.

He said he'd contemplated taking his own life, but changed his mind.

"Then I thought about me mother you know, I thought about what it would do to her and I think that's what stopped me.

"It's strange because everybody thinks footballers are these strong , athletic young men with everything going for them but then you look at Gary Speed, you didn't even see that coming.

"Clarke Carlisle has spoke about his depression for a long time and It just shows it can affect anyone."

Despite being told by doctors that he would never play again, Liam Coyle made a comeback for Omagh for the 1992-93 Irish League season and eventually returned to Derry City to be widely regarded as the greatest player in their history.

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