Peter Caruth, who has 142 caps for Ireland, has become the first Green Machine men’s hockey international to come out as gay.
Caruth made the announcement on Instagram. “I came out as GAY shortly before the Christmas break! I know, the shock, the horror but it’s ok everyone. Nobody needs to freak out,” he wrote.
“I’ve know that I’m gay since my early teens and I feel now is the right time to tell everyone … and say it really is the best thing I’ve done in my life because now I can stop hiding who I really am.
“I wrote down on paper and said in my head that I’m gay but to actually say it out loud was the hardest thing I have ever done.
“The response since coming out has been extremely positive and I have had other male sporting athletes come up to me and say ‘me too’. These moments are spine tingling and rewarding.
“Firstly, I am grateful each of you had the courage to tell me and I feel that, being the joker and character I am, I can help other athletes come out and accept themselves. I think it’s my calling.
“For me the world is changing with many sporting make athletes having the courage to come out such as Jake Daniels, Craig Napier, Lloyd Wilson and, most recently, Nick McCarthy from Leinster rugby.
“The way Irish people both north and south are accepting male sports athletes coming out will only help make a positive change both in sport and society.”
Caruth was part of the Ireland squad that won bronze medal at the 2015 EuroHockey while he has won club silverware with Monkstown and Annadale.
“Being a male Irish Olympian and field hockey player still playing his craft, to come out is scary but also exciting,” Caruth said in his statement.
“I came out to my best friend and all it took was the right question at the right time. It is OK if you are gay.”