Philly McMahon is one of the most inspirational figures in Irish sport at the moment. The Dublin footballer has been outspoken in the past about his youth, and what he went through as his brother John battled alcohol and drug addictions.
John would ultimately pass away in 2012, a moment which sparked something in his brother. Philly has been on a mission ever since to help people who could fall into the same dangerous behaviour patterns that ultimately cost John his life.
He set up a charity to help at risk youths, and has also recently extended his work into Mountjoy Prison. That was the site of a TED Talk earlier this month, where McMahon delivered an empowering speech which showed how we can intervene to help those in disadvantaged areas make something of themselves.
He used his own personal experiences as an example of how it can be done, saying that it was GAA that ultimately saved him from following his brother's bad example.
His brother picking up football helped him play football in primary school, helped play for his local club. More importantly, it helped his younger brother to challenge the standards fo his culture, because he could have went down the exact same route.
He could have started using drugs, started committing crime, he challenged the standards of his culture. His younger brother went on to do a degree, set up his own company, to go on and play for Dublin and win All-Irelands.
More importantly, his brother went on to set up a charity for high risk youths and drug addicts, in his brother's legacy.
McMahon has become involved with Mountjoy Prison in recent times. He was asked to give a talk to the prisoners, before going on to run fitness classes for those behind bars.
That ultimately led him to set up the 'Unfuccced' program, which helps prisoners prepare for their life after release. By helping change the outlook of those reintegrating into the community, he hopes their positivity can spread to help others, just like he managed to do himself.
The objective at the beginning was to ultimately impact the individual, to change the values, the behaviours, self beliefs. When they integrated back into society, that they were different. They had changed, unlike John... The opportunity is when they become a clean fish, they filter their community...
I was very fortunate that I had the GAA and my local club Ballymun Kickhams. I had one person that believed in me. One person that seen all the negative energy that I had because my brother was an addict, and he (Paddy Christie) said 'let's get that energy and put it into sport'.
When you clean a fish and put it back into the pond, it has a rippling effect. Without that one person listening to me and putting a bit of time into me, I wouldn't be here talking to you today.
Inspirational stuff. Keep up the good work Philly.