Dublin hero calls on teens to get a running start in life
Dublin GAA star Philly McMahon has joined forces with The Irish Youth Foundation and VHI for the Run For Fun initiative.
The run aims to encourage young people from disadvantaged communities to embrace the benefits of running, both for fitness and recreation.
There are more than 50 young people taking part in the programme across three locations - Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny. The groups are training across a 12-week programme to complete a 5km run.
McMahon, who is overseeing the Dublin programme, paid a visit to Bradog Regional Youth Service in Dublin to meet the children there and teach them the advantages of running.
"It's very important for young people to get involved in sport. Not just for their physical health but for their mental health," McMahon said.
The footballer has been open in the past about his experience growing up in Ballymun.
Writing in his autobiography, The Choice, McMahon explains that growing up in a disadvantaged community is an important part of his identity and made him who he is today.
"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.
"Ballymun was sold as the Ireland of the future, but they never built the facilities to make sure that this new community could survive and thrive.
"For years, there was no shopping centre or library or swimming pool. Instead of shops, we had shop vans, parked up in the fields, to make sure that we could buy our milk and bread," McMahon said.
The Dublin defender's brother John died in 2012 after a long battle with heroin addiction, which McMahon details in The Choice. The 30-year-old told how the book has had a deep impact on some readers who had similar experiences.