| 8.9°C Dublin

Nine football-mad boys, four teams, one big headache

A FOOTBALL-MAD family of 10 children -- nine boys and one girl -- have a serious sporting dilemma.

Aside from a hectic schedule of training with the local GAA club, playing basketball and soccer, the young boys in the family support four different Premier League sides.

Mum Edel Maher (37) is a huge sports fan and has encouraged the passion in her children.

But husband Paul -- who works with the Dublin Airport police -- has little say in the matter.

"Edel and the kids are fanatic about sport," the dad explained.

"Edel supports Liverpool and we tried to steer them all to the one team. But that didn't work out -- when it comes to soccer, they all have their own ideas."

The eldest, Eoin (11), is an ardent Manchester United fan, while Cian (9) is a Liverpool follower. "There were ructions in our house over Torres and all the signings," Paul said.


"Darragh (8) loves Chelsea -- he loves all of the goalkeepers. He could be a future goalkeeper himself."

Next in line, Cathal (7) follows Arsenal while Conor (5) is a Manchester Utd fan.

Twins Odhran and Oisin (4), Fionn (3), and six-month old Cillian haven't yet pledged their allegiance to one particular team. And Aisling (2) loves anything that the boys are into.

Paul (36) said that sport is the number one topic in their house in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.

"There's usually sport or children's programmes on our TV," Paul said.

"As long as it's round or oval and kicked around a pitch, they'll be watching. I don't get a choice what to watch, I just go with the flow.

"I just say - whenever the programme is over, call me."

And Paul, originally from Kimmage in Dublin, said that there is war when it comes to the Gaelic football championship.

"I bought all of them Dublin jerseys and they will support Dublin but also obviously Monaghan and any of the northern teams," he said, diplomatically.

As each child has their own football jersey and GAA outfit, washing is a major headache for the Maher team.

"Basically its three loads a day," Paul said.

"Whenever I'm at home I'll step in and help as much as I can with ironing, cleaning and cooking."

The family have never been to a Premier League game in England but Paul believes the atmosphere is just as good watching in their own sitting room.

"Why buy a ticket when you can get it in your own home?" Paul joked.

The Mahers are expecting their 11th child in the coming months.