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Philly McMahon Wants To Be Remembered As More Than Just A Dublin Footballer

Philly McMahon Wants To Be Remembered As More Than Just A Dublin Footballer
By PJ Browne
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Unlike many who leave high-level sport and have no idea how to fill that void, Philly McMahon knows exactly how he will spend those reclaimed hours whenever he finishes with inter-county football.

There will be more time with his family and girlfriend but it will also be used to further his work as a social activist.

"It's a purpose that I'm really passionate about in life, more so than any other aspect of business or sport," McMahon, an ambassador for the #YouthEmpowered programme, tells Balls.

"It's certainly something that I would like to have as my legacy, that I helped the country."

The 31-year-old has been a key part of the Dublin team which has dominated Gaelic football in recent times, winning six All-Irelands in the past eight seasons.

He has not only used that platform to help build successful businesses but to also form charitable movements which aim to alleviate societal problems and help the disadvantaged. As well as his own, which includes Halftime Talk, he added the #YouthEmpowered programme earlier this year.

The #YouthEmpowered programme, developed by Coca‑Cola HBC, is designed to give young people access to the life and business skills they need to transition into work.


"If we can get teens and young adults," says McMahon, "we can break cycles of poverty, homelessness, addiction, crime, mental health issues.

By targeting teens and young adults at a very young age, we're shaping the country and making a massive difference.

Those ones who slip through the net and go onto detention centres like Oberstown, Half-Time Talk is trying to be the organisation to get them back on the straight and narrow.


Through the #YouthEmpowered programme, McMahon hopes to play a role in helping young people learn how to connect and how developing relationships could create opportunities in the future.



"We do it through workshops," he says, "get them looking at what sort of values they have. They'll write down what kind of feelings create these actions.

It's about bringing out what's inside them mentally. Get them to understand that from a certain age, there's a chip in their head that develops their story, their questions, their beliefs, their metaphors and that they're the author of it. It's about getting them to put it on paper so that they can see it.

There's very few courses out there, programmes out there, schools out there that get kids to become aware of how they are feeling and how those feelings create their actions.

These kids are from all different backgrounds. You have to understand that some of them have low education rates and that, maybe, education is not on their agenda.

It's just getting to understand who they are and what they want to become. They might not even become what they say they want to be but giving them a small bit of direction is important.

Their success might be that they go onto employment, education or the career choice that they wanted. Maybe it's university.

Success in many ways is that they are reaching out to do these programmes.

The skills which McMahon aims to impart have been picked up on a journey which began in Ballymun, found fuel and direction through Gaelic football, and has taken him into the fitness industry.


In his autobiography, McMahon calls the death of his brother John, who was a heroin addict, a major turning point. He has since become increasingly proactive in life. His social activism is part of that ethos.

"John's passing and understanding death has given me that motivation to do things in life before time runs out," he says.

"I'm conscious that I don't know when that time will be. None of us do. Before that happens, I have a lot to achieve and that's why I'm going after it."


Philly McMahon is a Youth Empowered Ambassador. The #YouthEmpowered programme developed by Coca‑Cola HBC is designed to give young people access to the life and business skills they need to transition into work. It provides an important stepping stone for unemployed young people who are seeking support and training that aligns with their needs and ensures they develop the tools and skills to succeed. Now in its third year, the programme is growing from strength to strength with the growth in the #YouthEmpowered Digital Hub offering free online training to all recent school-leavers and job seekers.


Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

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