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Ex-IRA member and former boxing champion Danny Flynn (Daniel Day-Lewis) comes out of prison after fourteen years and returns to his native Belfast. He falls in with his old coach, Ike (Ken Stott), and the pair open a gym together. Danny meets his old flame, Maggie (Emily Watson), and hopes to rekindle their affair until he discovers that while he was inside she married his best friend, also an IRA member and now serving time himself. As Danny and Ike's gym attracts young talent and Danny successfully resurrects his boxing career, pressure from IRA thug Harry, an opponent of the burgeoning peace process, threatens to destroy everything they are working towards.