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30th Sep 2017

Philly McMahon’s reason for not drinking may inspire other GAA players to stay off it

When you think about it, it makes sense

Niall McIntyre

Philly McMahon

Off the beer and on the ball.

After winning their third All-Ireland in the last three years, the Dublin footballers could be forgiven for letting themselves go in the last two weeks, and some of them probably did that, but not Philly McMahon, that’s not his style.

Speaking to JOE on Thursday he almost guiltily admits to have enjoyed “a week of crap food,” on the back of the big win over Mayo, but with his eyes firmly on Ballymun Kickhams’ club campaign, for which he will be captain, that was about the height of the indulgences.

The teak tough defender spoke about the exhausting toll the formalities involved with being an All-Ireland winner have on your body, and claimed that if he was a drinker it’d be even tougher.

The non-alcoholic beverages were in overdrive over the last two weeks.

“Yeah it’s been good, plenty of non-alcoholic beverages.  It’s so tough, I don’t know how lads do it with drink on them. I do be falling asleep half the time throughout the celebrations,” said McMahon at the launch of the second National Fitness Day.

“As soon as you go to the hotel, you’re down to the banquet until very late in the morning time, you’re onto the hospital, into Stephen’s green and you’re into Steven’s club. It’s constant and very tough.

“They haven’t been drinking for nine or ten months of the year, they certainly make up for it after,” added the stoic defender.

The way top level GAA has gone, drinking will be a no-go for as long as your team are competing, so when teams are finally knocked out and are free of commitments and drinking bans, many players go on a few mad ones to compensate.

McMahon doesn’t partake in the drinking culture, he never has and never wanted to.

His initial reason for steering clear of the beer was as simple as they come, a dislike for the taste of it, but as the years went on, it became more a matter of principle.

Philly was going to do what he wanted and he wasn’t going to let the choices of others dictate his decisions. While drinking is seen as a social thing for the majority of this country, the 30-year-old feels he can have enough fun without it.

“I never felt I needed it to have a laugh, or to enjoy my social life. I was grand without it,” he began.

“Sometimes, people would come up to me, and they think that I’m the drunk one on a night out. I never found it hard,” he added.

“I never liked it. When I was younger, I never liked the taste of it, I tried it when I was in my teens, it just wasn’t for me. I suppose, I wasn’t a sheep that jumped on what any of the others did, you know,” he claimed.

Indeed, as many other non-drinkers will be familiar with, his friends attempted to pull the wool over his eyes on many an occasion to see him join the fun, but he wasn’t falling for it.

“There was times when my mates would try and spike my drink with alcohol, they think you don’t smell it, you know. I was on holidays with lads, and they put a whiskey in my coke, and they were like, here, I got you a drink. I don’t know what they got out of it, it was a bit of banter I suppose,” he concluded.

No messing about for the Ballymun man.