Michael D. Higgins made an appearance on last night’s Late Late Show tribute to Irish football on Friday night.
The special episode of the chat show was held to celebrate 100 years of the FAI, and the lineup of guests was certainly impressive.
Alongside side Higgins were the likes of David O’Leary, Shay Given, Packie Bonner, Olivia O’Toole, and Paula Gorham. Paul McGrath also appeared alongside Jack Charlton's son John, and paid a poignant tribute to the late former Ireland manager.
One aspect of Irish football that was hardly touched on, however, was the domestic league. On a night when no games from the League of Ireland were televised, President Michael D. Higgins was the biggest cheerleader of the domestic game in the Late Late studios.
Michael D. Higgins calls for more support for the League of Ireland
Michael D. Higgins is a famed football fan. Uachtaráin na hÉireann is a former president of Galway United FC and has regularly been pictured at League of Ireland games. He was also memorably ecstatic when Robbie Brady scored against Italy at EURO 2016 (though he regrettably had to share those celebrations with John Delaney).
Even the legendary clip of Michael D celebrating Robbie Brady's goal in Lille is now tainted by John Delaney and his wildman celebration.
But it won't stop us from wishing Michael D a happy 80th birthday. pic.twitter.com/4eYdFFhEF0
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) April 18, 2021
Higgins appeared on the Late Late Show on Friday as part of their celebration of Irish football.
The President spoke about the exploits of the Ireland legends alongside him, and also gave a rousing plea for people to support the League of Ireland.
You put it well when you spoke of the happiness they have given us.
What I think is important anyway - we must all support not only the great international soccer, but the league and all that family. The league is important.
After COVID, it is one of the most important. I am hoping to rearrange my Friday visits to venues all round Ireland.
While it was a worthwhile gesture from the President, it was a small bit ironic that no League of Ireland matches were televised last night. RTÉ's celebration of the Irish game on the Late Late came on a night when tight clashes between Derry City and Dundalk, and Bohemians and Sligo Rovers, were taking place. Despite that, RTÉ chose not to broadcast any games from the domestic league, on a night when they were celebrating Irish football.
So much is often said in support of the League of Ireland but quite often the actions that make a real change fall short. Michael D. Higgins' enthusiasm for the domestic game is an example of how attitudes to the League of Ireland need to change.