Dark Blue

Dark Blue

The Despair Behind the Glory – My Journey Back from the Edge

Shane Carthy writes frankly and eloquently about the downward spiral which saw him wake up in St Patrick’s Mental Hospital only days after producing a man-of-the-match display in Dublin’s 2014 Leinster under-21 final win over Meath. An inspiring story of resiliance and rebuilding.


Sports Book of the Year - 2021

Irish Book Awards - Short-listed

Paperback: €14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Size:226x155 mm
ISBN: 9781788491501

E-Book (ePub): €9.99
Also available as an E-Book (ePub)
ISBN: 9781788492614

Category: Biography/Memoir

Shane Carthy writes frankly and eloquently about his journey over the last five years. He details, without overdramatising, the downward spiral which, days after producing a man-of-the-match display in Dublin’s 2014 Leinster under-21 final win over Meath, saw him wake up in St Patrick’s Mental Hospital.

Carthy also explains what ultimately brought him back to where he is now, discovering a path where life is worth living. He hopes that through his words and actions he can show people that there is a way out of the suffering they may be experiencing and the path, although difficult, is worth travelling.   

Shane Carthy

Born in 1994, Shane Carthy lives in the seaside town of Portmarnock in north Dublin. He has played Gaelic football at the very highest level, representing Dublin at Minor, U21 and Senior levels, and collecting five All Ireland medals to date. When he’s not playing football, Shane spends most of his time with family and friends and travels the length and breadth of the country sharing his experiences with mental health. 

Shane Carthy took a seat beneath the Late Late Show studio lights, opened the pages of his life to the nation, and brilliantly realised the ambition of every elite athlete. In shining a light on his battle with depression, by inviting us into the Stygian darkness of the mental cell in which he was incarcerated for two years, the Dublin footballer delivered a performance that will live through the ages. It was mesmerising, electrifying TV, a show-stealing portrayal of a silent killer that demanded an All-Star for unvarnished honesty and stupendous courage. This (hopefully) is a year when the Olympic flame will blaze over Tokyo. It is earmarked also as a Euro finals summer. A GAA Championship, the Ryder Cup and the Tour de France lurk somewhere on a horizon Covid continues to shift. Yet, there will not be a more important, deeply affecting or braver display by an Irish sportsman or woman in any global arena in 2021 than Carthy’s Friday night tour de force. Even if he never again steps into the Sky Blue uniform on a Croke Park summer Sunday, he leaves behind a body of work to equal the best of Brian Fenton or Stephen Cluxton. That’s how unforgettable, important, hypnotising and life-affirming a message he delivered from the RTÉ couch. Carthy’s words were pitch-perfect: It is okay to not be okay. is not a weakness to say you are suffering. And then a nugget of advice, both gentle and emphatic, a dispatch from a landmined war-zone he himself has crossed: “If you are suffering in silence, take the step and talk to somebody”. It may not be an exaggeration to say that Shane’s eloquent peeling back of the layers to reveal the suffocating chokehold clinical depression took on his world, along with his mapping of a route back to the sunlight, might save another’s life … “Dark Blue” … the author’s unblinking honesty, boundless compassion and ultimately upbeat message of hope, should be compulsory reading

Sunday World, SW Sports’s Curtis

Your story is a story for our time … if ever there was a story to connect with the young people of Ireland … it’s Shane’s story

Ryan Tubridy, RTE’s The Late Late Show

A must read for young people and parents alike … brilliantly written

RTE's Des Cahill

We can never underestimate the power of hearing from people like yourself

Today FM’s Dermot & Dave Show

Subject matter like this is never a comfortable read, but it can often be a necessary one, as it might just help someone in Shane Carthy’s position to open up about their issues and seek help

The Kerryman

Read this in one sitting yesterday. Compelling stuff and ultimately a much-needed good news story

Irish Times’ Malachy Clerkin

In a world today where looking after your mental health is so vitally important, the story of Dublin's Shane Carthy’s battle with depression is very thought-provoking. On the surface of things, he had the world at his feet. He broke into the Dublin panel while still in secondary school, and was a member of the 2013 All-Ireland winning side at the tender age of 18. The following year, he produced a man-of-the-match display in Dublin's 2014 Leinster Under 21 final win over Meath, a star-studded team that, on the day, featured the likes of Jack McCaffrey, Ciaran Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, David Byrne, Cormac Costello, John Small and Niall Scully. Days later, he woke up in St. Patrick's University Hospital, a mental health service, where he would spend the next 11 weeks. Carthy’s interview on The Late Late Show recently was powerful as he spoke out about the silent battles and the stigma. No matter what walk of life you have come from or the success you appear to enjoy, you can go through difficult times. Through his book Dark Blue: The Despair Behind the Glory, Carthy details his journey to the brink. It may be a difficult read at times, but it is more powerful because of it.

Connaught Telegraph

Just finished the raw, honest, powerful story of @S_Carthy8 by @OBrienPress full of admiration for him and his amazing family

Michael Corcorcan

Powerful and compelling

Midwest Radio’s Sunday Sports Show

What an incredible read and his story will help so many people

Meghann Scully, RTE & Limerick journalist

Having these words and this story told will be a release for so many

Hope Collective

Absolutely fascinating

Marie Crowe, Game On

It’s a brilliant book … it’s inspirational, it’s hard hitting, it’s incredibly honest

Donncha O’Callaghan

His book is brave and powerful, one I think many young men in particular will relate to

RTE’s Damien O’Meara

A harrowing but inspirational story that resonates far beyond sport ... the book which is a brilliantly told account of your story which will resonate with so many people

Virgin Sport’s Tommy Martin

stories of perseverance and offering hope to anyone who suffers debilitating depression … Carthy writes in an attractive conversational style, with honesty and courage, capturing his frightening journey, which almost led to suicide… Young people in Ireland would find it easy to identify with Shane Carthy, particularly (but not exclusively) those who love sport. They would gain huge insight into the challenges faced by people suffering from depression. Dark Blue should be required reading in the early years of secondary school. … Parents and guardians of young people, as well as anyone who wants to learn more about mental illness, would benefit greatly from reading … rewarding and uplifting

Irish Examiner

searingly honest

Virgin’s Ireland AM



a triumph, not least because Carthy wrote it himself … a moving feat

Irish Times

Audio available: listen to some of this book now ...

    Audiobook: start of chapter 3. Read by Lloyd Cooney:
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