Soccer

"They put roots somewhere else, but the home is Irish" - Aiden O'Brien, 'Irishness' & National Identity

Arthur O'Dea
Arthur O'Dea

05:57 3 Feb 2019


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"In the world of football in particular where it's hard to do anything different or get access to interesting people, David Sneyd is just on a really good run at the moment," Joe Molly said of the latest interview carried out by the Irish Mail on Sunday journalist.

Travelling to meet the Millwall and Ireland forward Aiden O'Brien, the resulting piece in this morning's paper sparked a conversation regarding 'Irishness' and national identity on Off the Ball's Sunday Paper Review.

Joining Joe in studio were Cliona Foley and Andy McGeady; all three coming to the conclusion that Sneyd's interview with O'Brien marked the high-point of this weekend's lot.

"I think it's very hard for us sometimes to identify with people who are declaring for Ireland," Cliona noted with the London-born O'Brien in mind.

An interview that sought to bring previously unknown details of O'Brien's life to the surface, glimpses into the footballer's private family life sparked a much broader discussion.

"It's one of the things we miss a lot," Andy noted of the Irish fans' tendency never to hear such stories being told.

"You know, why are the rugby team flavour of the month? Well, because a lot of them live in Ireland, we know them, we know their stories.

"We do miss this bit of where these people outside the island come from.

"[O'Brien] says here that the 'Irishness' was never foisted upon him, it was just there. We don't get that. There is a fundamental part in us that does not understand that.

"We are an emigrant nation, we have a diaspora and it's one of our great things we give to the world. This is one of the things we get back, through sport.

"They put roots somewhere else, but the home is Irish."

Arriving at a general consensus that more stories like that told of Aiden O'Brien are needed, there is much more to catch up with on today's Sunday Paper Review which you can watch back here.

 

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