It’s not too often that a Westmeath footballer dominates the news, even to a small extent.
Yesterday, however, I saw a great, inspirational story about a Westmeath footballer in various media outlets.
Luke Loughlin opens up about his personal hell after 10 years of addiction, and similar headlines dominated RTE radio and TV news, not to mention many other outlets.
Loughlin is 27 and from around the Mullingar area in Westmeath.
Twelve months ago he was drying out in the Cuan Mhuire addiction treatment centre. Now he has starred for Westmeath in their fabulous Tailteann Cup win over Cavan last week.
Loughlin’s story is inspirational and heart-warming. He openly spoke about the demons that drove him into the arms of twin addictions for drugs and drink.
He mentioned a video doing the rounds last year on social media of him sleeping beside railway tracks someplace.
But he got his life turned around with the help of Cuan Mhuire and long periods of time spent in the gym. Now he is probably as fit as he ever has been in his life and arguably at the peak of his physical fitness.
His ability to speak openly about the self-loathing that drove him to drink and drugs shows he is at the top of his mental fitness, too.
Schools in Westmeath, and further afield, should be inviting this lad to speak to their students about drink, drugs, mental health and the value of opening up and speaking about problems.
Hats off to Luke Loughlin. Truly inspirational.