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Delighted parents have extra spring in their step

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Xanthe and Brian McCormick,
from Lucan, with their newborn
son and Rory, their two-yearold

Xanthe and Brian McCormick, from Lucan, with their newborn son and Rory, their two-yearold

Xanthe and Brian McCormick, from Lucan, with their newborn son and Rory, their two-yearold

FORGET the novelty of having a Leap Year baby. The big question for one couple is whether their newborn daughter will don the Irish or French jersey this weekend.

Robert Lane and his French wife Sabine, who comes from Albi near Toulouse, gave birth to little Aibheann at 5.14am yesterday.

The couple were among 19 parents by late afternoon yesterday to have given birth to Leap Year babies at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.

Robert (27) joked that sporting allegiances were the most pressing matter for now, ahead of the rescheduled Six Nations clash between Ireland and France on Sunday.

"We'll have to see who gets the jersey on her first," he said.

He continued: "It just adds to how special it is. It just gives it an extra special feeling to it. I'm delighted to have a happy mother and happy baby."

In the bed next to Sabine was Anna Zdaniewicz, who gave birth to little Lidia at 9.56am, who weighed in at over 8lbs.

"We were happy because everybody is going to remember the date of the birth," she said.

"I have never met anybody who was born on the 29th and we were joking as well that you never age, because you celebrate your birthday every four years."

In the 12 hours up to midday yesterday, 14 Leap Year babies were born at the Coombe.

Xanthe McCormick (32) and her husband Brian had a baby boy, weighing 8lbs 3oz, at 10.24am yesterday and were planning on celebrating his birthday on February 28 on a 'regular' year as they mulled over baby names.

As for saving the cash, parents may be in for their own little surprise as presents are still compulsory. Celebrants -- aged from one to 24 in Leap Years, or four to 96 in normal years -- joined fellow 'Leap Year Baby', Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague, for a party at the Mansion House yesterday .

All revealed they had never missed out on a birthday.

Lana McKeon (8), from Clonsilla, Dublin, who also shares her birthday with little sister Robyn (4), was having more fun than usual as she revealed she had received a computer game for her birthday. "My friends call me the 'Leap Year Baby in school," she said.

A doll, a make-up set, a necklace and sparkly runners were happily sported by Hannah Heffernan (8), from Tyrellstown, Dublin, who said she was going to have a special birthday every four years.

Celebrating

Lee Brady, from Artane, Dublin, was celebrating his third or 12th birthday, ahead of flying to visit his big brother Shane in Brisbane next week.

"Sometimes they would be saying you are a baby and most of them got me three-year-old cards, but it is okay," he said on his friends' reactions.

Yvonne Power, mother of Samantha Power (12), from Clarehall, revealed the February 29 birthday had raised eyebrows at a Spanish customs checkpoint when she was a baby.

"He pointed and said, 'wrong date'," she said. "I had to explain she was a Leap Year baby."

Irish Independent