IT'S a long way from Tallaght to the White House, but Irish football captain Robbie Keane looked very much at home as he rubbed shoulders with US President Barack Obama.
Robbie and his teammates at LA Galaxy jetted into Washington for a special reception hosted by the president marking their success as 2011 Major League Soccer champions.
Mr Obama singled out the superstar trio of Robbie, David Beckham and American player Landon Donovan for praise at the event yesterday.
No doubt his visit to Ireland last year was in mind when he quipped that Dubliner Robbie was “ a cousin of mine”.
But Robbie, being joshed by his teammates over Obama’s reference to him as "all time leading scorer of the Irish national team" appeared to miss the cousin reference.
He turned to a teammate off camera and asked: “What did he say?”
Mr Obama continued: "Robbie arrived halfway through last season, scored his first goal in the first 21 minutes of his first game. His teammates were so happy to have him that they filled his locker with what they called the 'pleasures of Ireland' -- Guinness, Baileys, and Irish Spring."
As the audience laughed he said: "Hopefully Robbie has broadened their horizons a little bit since then."
Meanwhile, Mr Obama aimed a few quips at the former England captain, pictured right celebrating a goal with Robbie, describing how the 37-year-old defied age and numerous injuries to lead his team to glory in the championship.
"He is tough. In fact, it is a rare man who can be that tough on the field and also have his own line of underwear. David Beckham is that man," he laughed.
Following the reception, the team were due to have a kick around on the lawn of the White House with first Lady Michelle Obama, but it had to be cancelled due to heavy rain.
However that didn't dampen the occasion for the Keanes.
Afterwards Claudine Keane, Robbie's glam model wife tweeted: "Amazing response to Rob meeting @BarackObama in The White House today. He asked me to Thank You All for your kind words!