Saturday 24 February 2018

We're stuck in the middle

Eva and Ruby Lillis are trying to keep both their parents happy in the run-up to the All Ireland hurling final on Saturday
Eva and Ruby Lillis are trying to keep both their parents happy in the run-up to the All Ireland hurling final on Saturday

Maria Herlihy

TWO cute little nippers who are living in Yonkers, New York and whose parents hail from Rockchapel and Cooraclare may go a tad bonkers as Clare take on Cork in the All Ireland hurling final replay.

Georgous two and a half year old Ruby and one year old Eva Lillis are trying to keep both their parents happy, but loyalties are being tested on the run up to the re-match.

Their proud Rebel supporter mother, Nuala Carroll hails from Glencarney in Rockchapel and Vinny Lillis is from Cooraclare. When the early morning whistle will go in their house, the little nippers will have their very unusual jerseys on.

Nuala is living the States for 12 years and while she readily admitted that she "loves it" she did, however, say that there is no place like home.

Nuala's father is Mike Carroll, and she has three brothers who live in Rockchapel and two sisters who live in Limerick and Kilkenny. However, Nuala's sister Breda also lives in New York.

Vinny hails from West Clare, which is predominately regarded as a football region, but as Nuala, with a smil,e pointed out that any chance a Clare man gets to go to Croke Park - then, he'll gladly take it.

When asked where did she get the novel idea of the jerseys for the girls - which boasts half Clare and half Cork colours, she said that her soon to be sister in law, Denise Curtin, gave them to the girls. She also pointed out that Denise is a Kerry woman, but once she's wed then she'll be in Rebel territory.

Regarding the jerseys, Nuala said that they have been a big hit. "Though, it usually takes people a few seconds to figure out who they are supporting," said Nuala with a laugh.

When Cork took on Clare on September 8, she said that she watched it at home and Vinny was in Croke Park shouting for Clare. "It was a heartstopper of a game. Maybe a bit too hard on the heart, as it was on at 10.30am for us," she said.

For the re-match, Vinny along with 10 other Claremen - along with one other brave Corkman, her brother in law, John Broderick - will watch the match in McMullan's pub in Las Vegas.

Nuala will watch it at home with her sister Breda and Ruby. "Eva will be napping, but if it's as close as the last day then I'm pretty sure all the shouting will wake her up again," said Nuala.

As Nuala hails from Duhallow, she said that her favourite players are the home grown ones - Anthony Nash, Lorcan McLoughlin, William Egan and Mark Ellis.

When asked if she would put down a few punts on the game, she said that both she and Vinny have an "in house bet."

"I'm pretty confident that I won't have to wash the dishes for a week," she said.

But what about Ruby and Eva - who will they shout for?

Nuala said before the All Ireland final, Ruby had told her mom that she would shout for the Banner and Eva could in turn shout for the Rebels - to keep things on an even keel.

But quickly afterwards, Vinny got to her ear before Breda and converted her to the Banner side. Now, both Nuala and Breda are working overtime trying to bring her back to Rebel soil.

"We reckon that in the long run she'll have a much more successful career as a Cork supporter than a Clare supporter," said Nuala.


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