Thursday 18 January 2018

Dublin star Philly McMahon reveals he was taunted by an opposition player over his brother's death

Philly McMahon on the Late Late Show Photo: The Late Late Show Twitter
Philly McMahon on the Late Late Show Photo: The Late Late Show Twitter
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Dublin footballer Philly McMahon has told how an opposition player taunted him over his brother's death from drugs.

The All-Star defender was appearing on RTÉ's Late Late Show to speak about his new book 'The Choice', in which he openly and honestly writes about his brother's death.

"I was marking a guy and he thought saying my brother overdosed from drugs and that he was a junkie would affect my game, but it just empowered me and I played better...we all make mistakes and I'm sure that person regrets it and it just happened in the minute, but I know John was with me when he said that," McMahon said.

John McMahon died at the hands of heroin in 2012 after a long battle with addiction.

Ryan Tubridy read out an extract from the book where the Ballymun man said he used to feel embarrassed about his brother's drug problem.

"I grew up trying to hide my dirty little secret, that my brother was an addict. I didn't invite him to events as I didn't want him to show me up," he said.

"If I got into a row with somebody they would say 'yeah, your brother is a junkie', so I always felt like someone always had something over me. When I went into Dublin development squads I just felt why am I the only one who has a drug addict brother. That was quite tough, it was really tough speaking about it.

"The more people we get with profiles to speak about it, the better."

He said he soon realised that "tough love" wasn't what his brother needed.

"Tough love is the wrong way to go. As a family member you think love is the strongest thing you can use to get them off drugs, but it’s connection that you need.

"There’s very little you can do as a family member to get that person off drugs...There’s a lot of support the addict needs to be in place. The toughness is too harsh, we need to have different things in place so these people can stay on the planet long enough to come off drugs."

McMahon has previously called for decriminalisation of drugs and works with local kids in his area to show them that there are other options out there.

The two-time All-Star has spoken proudly about his upbringing in Ballymun in the book and the difficulties associated with living there.

"‘Who are you?’ he asks me. Good question. Who do you think I am? An athlete, a Dublin footballer, an All-Ireland winner? A businessman?," he said.

"Do you think I’m aggressive? A scumbag? A knacker from the flats? A dickhead? A role model?

"Ask me who I am and I’ll start with where I come from. I am Ballymun. It is in my blood. It has made me the man I am.

"It’s where I learned about pride and passion and the importance of hard work. Loyalty. Perseverance. Love."

The Dublin defender will launch his book at a special event in the Helix in DCU on Monday at 7pm.

He will be joined by Today FM presenter Matt Cooper and a host of other guests to celebrate the launch.

The audience will be treated to an interview and a book signing afterwards.

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