The Choice by Philly McMahon

choice philly mcmahon

Philly McMahon is a Dublin GAA player and a member of the Ballymun Kickhams. He grew up in the flats in Ballymun in the 1990s and has actual family experience of the heroin epidemic that went on at the time. Philly’s older brother John became addicted to heroin as a teenager and sadly passed away. This book addresses the guilt that Philly feels about how he treated his brother and how if he had drug awareness education he may have dealt with things in a better manner.

Let me start by saying I have no interest in sports or sports people at all! This book was suggested to me by my mother who has even less of an interest in sports that I do. We enjoyed it, not because of who wrote it or the sporting aspects (most of which I skim read), but because of the insight it gives into some societal issues such as substance abuse and crime.

This book accurately describes the struggles, and joys of life in Ballymun, without coming across as indulgent. It addresses the challenges around heroin addiction and many of the reasons why (Philly believes) so many people relapse. It shows how getting involved in sport, and having something to focus on, gave Philly a choice and potentially stopped him from going down the same path as many young people from his community.

I really loved this book, sporting chapters aside. I’m certain it would be of interest to any Dubs fan but also to anyone with an interest in any of the issues it addresses. Having not known anything about Philly McMahon previously, I have great respect for him. Not only has he become very successful but he has gone on to use his platform for good, setting up his own charity to help people.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

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