The Meaning Of Life with Gay Byrne

Programme 4

Gay Byrne with Sean Gallagher

Niall Quinn

One of Ireland's most successful and best loved footballers, Niall Quinn, tells Gay how a mixture of faith, family and luck enabled him to "swim in the river without getting wet" in a sport that was rife with drink and gambling. Plus, how he survived the kind of post-career depression that killed his friend Gary Speed.

It's not an easy time to be a entrepreneur in Ireland, let alone an entrepreneur called Quinn. But Niall Quinn tells Gaybo that, while he never really got his head around the whole Celtic Tiger thing, he has high hopes for his latest business venture, Qsat, which is bringing broadband technology to the parts other providers can't, or won't, reach.

Having resigned from the board of Sunderland last February, he keeps a foothold in the game through his work as a pundit on Sky, but otherwise, his energies are now devoted to his new business and to family. The Quinns moved back to Ireland almost as soon as Niall's playing career ended, in order that his children, Aisling and Michael, could grow up closer to their grandparents.

Quinn admits he found the transition from player to ex-player tough, but hid his depression from all but his family. The death, last year, of Quinn's close friend, Gary Speed - who hanged himself in his garage - clearly shook Niall to the core, especially given his own similar reputation as one of the game's great optimists and gentlemen.

An occasion when Niall undoubtedly demonstrated that his own priorities were in order was his testimonial, when he famously donated all the £1m+ proceeds to Crumlin Children's Hospital, GOAL and to Sunderland-based charities. Tellingly, he reveals that, though the gesture wouldn't have happened without his wife, Gillian's support and encouragement, the inspiration came from his Mum.

Watch The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne, Sunday 28th October at 10.30pm on RTÉ One



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