These are the men and women who devote their lives to Irish sport.

An Instagram account dedicated to recognizing the grit and sacrifices it takes to succeed as an unpaid Irish athlete is attracting thousands of followers.

The page, which has over 400 posts so far, chronicles stars in sports like camogie, hurling, and gaelic football, alongside their managers and coaches.

Dublin GAA hero Philly McMahon is one such familiar face.

The Ballymun native has been vocal for years about how sport saved him from going down the route of drugs and crime that pervades his neighborhood. McMahon regularly speaks out about addiction and society's treatment of addicts, as his brother John died from a heroin overdose. 

On the page, McMahon is quoted: 

"I go into Mountjoy prison a couple of days a week. It started with Eddie Mullins, Mountjoy’s standing governor, approaching me on the pitch after a match to see if I’d give a talk. I accepted because here was the head of a jail thinking outside the box. 'We could have five or ten people in front of you,' said Eddie. 'They get out of their cells at this time but we do not know who’ll show up.' ... I walked into the prison church and it was packed. Good start. I had planned to tell them about my life but changed course because five of the lads central to the story were sitting in front of me!"

Mayo man Aidan O'Shea talked about the sell-by date on an athletic career that you've devoted your life to. Others, including Aidan O'Mahoney, discuss trying to retain your position on a team as you get older.

Cork camogie star Rena Buckley spoke of being told she couldn't present medals to the junior boys team - proof that sexism can still be rife in the sport. 

Several also delve into the mental health aspect of playing a competitive sport, why GAA saved them from getting into alcohol, the pressure to achieve a certain physique, and the camaraderie.

To read the stories, the Instagram page can be found here.

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