Philly McMahon with Robbie Harrington, Mooncoin who won the signed jersey.
Over 250 adults and teenagers from nine local clubs packed into the complex recently for the first talk in our club as part of the Mooncoin GAA Club Mental Health and Well Being Programme.
You could hear a pin drop when 7 time All Ireland winning Dublin footballer Philly McMahon took to the floor to speak of the “half time talk of his life”. For 40 minutes Philly entertained, educated and captivated his audience with a deeply personal account of growing up in an environment where drugs were part of his world to ultimately, relating this to the daily battle his brother John fought against drug addiction to his untimely death at 31. He spoke about how football was his out and in it he found the strength within to drive forward, perform to the best of his ability with both his club Ballymun Kickhams and his County. John had 31 minutes in his first half. Philly finished by asking the audience what is our biggest regret is life? He went on to say that it’s time … its the one thing we always take for granted. We need to treasure every minute.
John Hanlon from the GAA/Samaritans Liaison Officer outlined the work of the Samaritans and the role the GAA as a community can play in providing a support network to those who are not ok.
Derek McGrath, ex Waterford County manager and current secondary school teacher at De la Salle College in Waterford spoke how we as a society have changed dramatically since his time as a teenager. In this digital age, we need to take a step back and really listen to someone opening up to you, whether that be a friend, student, work colleague or player on your team reaching out for help and perhaps assisting them in finding supports to improve their well-being .
A very informative questions and answers session ended the evening with Philly and Derek providing thoughtful and honest answers from audience members.
Mooncoin GAA are very grateful to Philly, Derek and John for coming to our club on Wednesday 19th February. A key point to be taken from this event is the importance of communication and the positive talk about the evening in the village the following morning is just the start the health and well-being committee in the club were hoping for!
You can contact the Waterford and South East Samaritans on free call 116 123.
Remember its OK not to be OK!