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COLM TOBIN: Trying to make the point that Cillian's not just Irish, he's from Cork, like!

March 18th, 2024 1:53 PM

COLM TOBIN: Trying to make the point that Cillian's not just Irish, he's from Cork, like! Image

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WHILE the rest of Europe concerned itself with a rush to militarisation against the threat of an invasion by The Langer of the Urals (as I call him) Vladimir Putin, Ireland was on a war footing of its own last weekend.

With paranoia spreading from Mizen to Malin that the Brits would make a claim on Cillian Murphy in the wake of the Oscars, the country went into a collective defensive mode not seen since Rockall was last threatened.

We all know that Ireland is a neutral country in theory but we make an exception when its our British neighbours. It’s particularly galling when it’s the English making cultural and sporting landgrabs at will, and it gets particularly bad around awards season.

Ireland was not going to risk this happening again this year, especially with Cillian Murphy in the frame for the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Oppenheimer – a film about a very clever man who made a very bad bomb and smoked about three thousand cigarettes in the process.

As a result, it is thought that over 50% of eligible Irish men and women of military age were deployed last weekend in last-minute cyber-ops manoeuvres where citizens manned social media 24/7 in an attempt to quell British advances on our imminent Oscar glory.

Known in security circles as Operation Are They Never Not At It?, it is thought that two referendum campaigns and a Grand Slam were sacrificed in the attempt.

We may not be in any position to defend ourselves from actual military invasions, given that we have traditionally relied on hurleys and incorrect roadsigns to defend our territory, not to mention the Royal Air Force.

But there is no doubting our soft power, with many of us willing to defend our most gorgeous celebrities with our lives, particularly against any form of cultural appropriation by our former landlords. This is not a new problem.

The Brits have been making grabs on our best for years. Terry Wogan. Dave Allen. Dermot Morgan. Meanwhile, they’d nearly break the fecking internet reminding the world that Mrs Brown is Irish. Even Piers Morgan keeps telling everyone he’s Irish, something which surely needs addressing in an amendment to the Constitution.

The problem reached its zenith last year when Paul Mescal was wrongly claimed as British by the BBC in the runup to the Oscars. Paul Mescal was forced to stomp around Hollywood Boulevard in a pair of signature football togs for a year to counteract the move, kindly sponsored by O’Neills.

There have been numerous other examples in recent years, including the attempt to stake a claim on Saoirse Ronan, which is annoying given that her name is literally Saoirse, the Gaelic word for a thing they wouldn’t let us have for 800 years.

Even our Oscar-winning Ballintemple-born chieftain hunk overlord Cillian had to repeatedly correct a British journalist last year while sitting next to Tom Hardy. When the interviewer claimed the pair were both British, Murphy firmly replied: ‘No, I’m Irish.’

And he had to say it again and again, repeatedly, until he was almost green, white and orange in the face. And so it was no surprise that Murphy was all too keen to point out his Irishness during his acceptance speech in Hollywood at the weekend. His use of the cúpla focal (‘Go raibh míle maith agaibh’) to wrap up his speech was the home run, and felt like it was coming directly from the Irish government as part of the military operation to keep the trophy Irish.

The government itself must have been so busy that they didn’t have time to turn up at Dublin Castle to face the music of the two failed referendum campaigns.

Unfortunately, just as you thought Cillian was safe, and victory was Ireland’s to celebrate, there was an insurrection from inside the Irish defensive line, with Cork rebels again turning on the rest of the country to claim the Oscar for itself, which is true to form you’d have to admit.

And so, social media rang out with Cork people shouting about Murphy not being the first Irish-born actor to win the Best Actor Oscar at all, but actually being the first Cork-born actor. It was a wave of smugness not seen since we won the double in 1990. I have to say I enjoyed every minute of it. But you take all the wins you can get at this stage.

So, well done Mr Murphy. A proud moment for Cork and for Ireland, but mostly for Cork. I once saw him over in Connolly’s Of Leap when he was still fronting his rock band Sons of Mr Green Genes and you could tell then that there was something special about the kid.

Not that we would have told him that then of course. We don’t work that way in Cork, like. And no, we won’t mention Jonathan Ross.

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