WATCH: Former Norwich City Football player Philip Mulryne speaks out about becoming a Catholic priest
- Credit: Archant
Former Norwich City Football player Philip Mulryne has spoken out about his transformation from the club to the cloth.
The one-time Canaries' midfielder, who was ordained as a priest for the Dominican Order and took part in his first Mass in June, said he had initially intended to return to the game after taking a year out.
But after rediscovering his faith he instead chose to join the seminary and start down the path to becoming a Catholic priest.
Fr Mulryne, who was born in Belfast and also played for Manchester United and Cardiff City during a 13-year professional career, said football had been his dream as a boy.
He said: 'During the process of living that dream I began to feel there was a bit of a void there.
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'I was growing dissatisfied with the way I was living - putting all my trust in material things as if they were going to bring me happiness.'
READ MORE: Former Norwich City and Manchester United star Philip Mulryne ordained as a priest for the Dominican Order (of Preachers)Fr Mulryne said he had a devout sister who used to send him books on Catholicism, and he eventually opted to take time out of football.
He said: 'I made a radical decision in 2009 that I would come back to Ireland and take a year out, always with the intention of going back and maybe becoming a manager afterwards.
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'It was really during that year I felt the stirrings of a religious vocation.
'I fell in love with my faith and started reading lots of the church fathers, the lives of the saints - I couldn't stop reading these things.
'I started to go to mass again, I started to pray the rosary, I joined a group called the Legion of Mary in Ireland and really my faith became central again.
'Once that become such a focal point in my life I couldn't go back to football in the same way again.'
READ MORE: Former Norwich City player Philip Mulryne takes part in first Mass as priestFr Mulryne had played more than 100 games for Norwich City, scoring 18 goals for the Carrow Road side while also earning 27 caps for Northern Ireland.
He joined the Diocesan Seminary of Saint Malachy's Belfast, aged 31.
Fr Mulryne said football and religion could both bring feelings of joy, but beyond that they were worlds apart.
He said: '(Religion) needs us to be silent, to be people of prayer.
'It's not as euphoric as being in a football stadium but it speaks us on a deeper level and brings us a joy and a happiness.'