Gerard Kane (36) ended up becoming a serial burglar and sex offender instead of a millionaire footballer.
He subjected his terrified victim to a three-hour ordeal during which he threatened her life and raped her twice.
Kane was given a 12-year sentence yesterday but Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan suspended a quarter of the term on condition he completes his Leaving Certificate.
This means that he will be free in six years and nine months. But it could have been so different if Kane had not had an accident a week before he was due to go on trial with the English football club.
Shortly afterwards, Kane met a girl and was introduced to heroin. The Dun Laoghaire's man's life spiralled out of control and he ended up with 26 convictions for offences including aggravated burglary, robbery and threats to kill.
But these offences were relatively minor compared to the ordeal he inflicted on a woman in her Dublin home on the night of June 17, 2011.
She was alone in her flat at 1.30am when she was awoken by a door squeaking.
She saw Kane standing in the doorway, carrying a hammer, screwdriver and torch.
Kane said he wasn't going to hurt her before demanding to know where her safe was.
Kane got into bed beside her. He kept telling her not to look at him and that he would not leave until she was asleep.
He asked her for a kiss and began touching her before raping her. She again asked him to leave but he again told her he would not leave until she was asleep.
Kane told her he was afraid of hearing about this on the radio and mentioned burying her in the back garden. She took this as a threat to kill her.
"I was shaking and terrified," she said. "I was afraid not to do what he told me." Kane then raped her again.
Afterwards Kane told her he would take her word for it that she was an honest girl and would not ring the gardai. He asked for her phone number and said he would like to take her out to dinner, before hugging her and leaving.
The woman rang her employer, who took her to his house. They later went to the garda station and to the Rotunda Hospital.
Later that month she went to a garda station where she picked out Kane as the man who had been in her house.