Online abuse led to referee’s suicide attempt

Top Meath referee Patrick Nelis has revealed how vicious online abuse, following last year’s county final, contributed to a suicide attempt.

Online abuse led to referee’s suicide attempt

Tyrone-man Mr Nelis took charge of the 2013 Meath senior football final between victors Summerhill and Na Fianna.

He was generally pleased with his performance, but just weeks later attempted suicide and was lucky to survive.

He said a depression problem was made worse by vicious comments which circulated on social media about him after the county decider.

“I took a lot of abuse on Twitter after the county final that affected me badly,” said Mr Nelis.

“I took serious abuse, people Tweeting stuff like, ‘the fat, red hamster’.

“I remember sitting at home reading that stuff in floods of tears. I kept reading it again and again, trying to get behind the reason people would say such things. I shouldn’t have done that, I shouldn’t have read it.”

Originally from the Urney club in Tyrone, Mr Nelis moved to Meath in 2006 and joined Kells club Kilmainham. He praised the GAA community generally for supporting him during a difficult period and hopes his tale of recovery can help others.

“I’ll tell you, only for the GAA, it kept me going,” he told the Meath Chronicle.

“There were a few county board members who knew I was depressed. A couple of them on the management committee were very good to me.

“One rang me up a few times every day. He was worried about me. One of them rang me continuously one day, couldn’t get me, he was worried.”

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