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‘I’d love to have been there for Dublin Pride’ – Katie McCabe watches celebrations from afar with Georgia on her mind


Republic of Ireland internationals Ruesha Littlejohn, left, and Katie McCabe. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland internationals Ruesha Littlejohn, left, and Katie McCabe. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland internationals Ruesha Littlejohn, left, and Katie McCabe. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Katie McCabe and Ruesha Littlejohn are arguably Irish sport’s most high-achieving sporting couple and yet paradoxically their profile is relatively low.

That says much for this country’s propensity to wallow in otherwise C-List celebrity trash but it also reflects encouragingly that a same-sex relationship between two Irish soccer internationals is now barely deemed worthy of significant comment.

On Pride weekend, it does however remain worthy of significant reflection that McCabe and Littlejohn can enjoy such a normative existence in a land now devoid of twitching curtains.

McCabe missed the Parade again this year but, someday she vows, she will make it home.

“I’d love to have been at home and to see the Dublin Pride this year,” says McCabe from her base in Tbilisi, where Ireland play hosts Georgia in a World Cup qualifier tomorrow evening.

“It’s been a few years since I’ve been back, so maybe next year I’ll get to be in the parade. It’s fantastic to see and I’ll obviously have a lot of friends and family there. I’ll see the celebrations from afar. It’s all good and all positive.”

While former and current Leinster players Jack Dunne and Nick McCarthy have demonstrated that the macho environment of men’s rugby might now belatedly prove accepting of same-sex relationships, soccer remains a trailing outpost.

However, the bravery of young Blackpool player Jake Daniels offers hope that the age-old fears – mostly harboured by men – can slowly be banished and personal sexuality, so long a taboo, can become an irrelevance.

McCabe, who voiced her support of Daniels’ personal journey earlier this year, is cognisant that there are differences between how the sexes approach their sexuality but remains confident of the changing tides.

“I released a tweet off the back of what Jake Daniels had said, when he came out. I think it’s fantastic to see. I listened to his interview and I couldn’t believe he was only 17 or 18 years old, and how mature he spoke and how strong he was for doing it.

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“It’s obviously a difficult thing within the men’s game, but I hope he knows and feels all the love and support around the world. I saw a lot of high profile Premier League players coming out and giving him their support, and that goes a long way.

“For me it’s fantastic to see. It’s all positive off the back of what Jake Daniels has done. I think we are going in the right direction with that. But yeah, it’s obviously a process.

“I don’t know what it’s like in the men’s game, but when you see players like Jake come out, it’s only a good thing and it helps all the LGBTQ people in the right way. For me, it’s great to see.”

McCabe's family have remained in Dublin as the cost of getting to Georgia has denied them, and so many supporters, the chance to replicate the 700-strong choir who were behind the side in the 1-1 draw in Stockholm last time out.

However, the painting of a giant mural in McCabe's Kilnamanagh home has offered succour to the captain as they seek the first of the two wins which will guarantee a play-off route for next year's World Cup.

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