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Charlie Haughey's Grandniece Is Swimming For Hong Kong In The Olympics

Charlie Haughey's Grandniece Is Swimming For Hong Kong In The Olympics
By Conor Neville Updated

The hunger for Charlie Haughey related sporting stories remains as strong as ever in this corner of Balls.ie. At the Rio Olympics, we have unexpectedly hit the jackpot.

We had long presumed that the Tony Cascarino-teashop story could not possibly be topped in this most niche of categories. However, it has probably been bested by a story emerging from the Olympic Aquatic Stadium in Rio.

Some previous Charlie stories. According to the Royal Irish Academy, Charlie Haughey's sporting career included of a county title with Parnells in 1945 and a year long suspension for decking a linesman.

Later on, while serving as Taoiseach, he coached Stephen Roche to the Tour de France and, three years later, carried the Irish flag around the running track of the Stadio Olimpico after Ireland were eliminated from Italia 90.

After the game, he was invited into the Irish dressing room to speak to the players. Many of you may know the story.

While An Taoiseach was delivering a no doubt stirring homily on the sporting sons of Ireland, Andy Townsend leaned into Tony Cascarino of all people and asked 'who the fuck is that?' Buggered if Cas knew and he nudged Quinny who was listening intently.

'It's the Taoiseach!' Quinny responded, in the tone which we imagine to be akin to an embarrassed mother shushing her kids at Mass.

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'Who is it, Cas?' Townsend inquired hungrily. 'I dunno but Quinny says he owns a teashop', came the reply.

We had thought this story to be entirely mythical. But Cascarino confirmed to us the veracity of the story though he said it was all tongue in cheek at the time. The English-born lads knew Haughey.

This tale has now been unseated as our favourite Charlie Haughey-sporting story by the news that his grand-niece competed for Hong Kong in the Olympics.

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Aaron Rogan in theTimes wrote that Siobhan Haughey's father is Darach Haughey. He works as a liquidator for Deloitte and is a nephew of Haughey. She is the first swimmer from Hong Kong to compete at the Olympics since 1952.

Siobhan breezed through her heat in the 200m freestyle at the weekend, shattering her own Hong Kong record in the process.

This morning, she failed to progress from her semi-final, finishing in 6th place. 1st and 2nd in her semi-final were Swede Sarah Sjostrum and American Katie Ledecky. These two swimmers occupy lanes 4 and 5 for the final.

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Born in 1997, Siobhan won gold at the World Junior Championships in 2013. Given her youth and promising display this time around, the Asian press are understandably talking up a tilt at the 2020 games in Toyko.

She attended the University of Michigan. She told the Michigan Athletics youtube channel that 'people find my background a bit funny or strange.'

The American narrator pronounces her surname 'Haw-Hee', emphasising the second syllable.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTj_OjXQLnM

We tried to contact Sean Haughey but he was out of office and the mobile phone rang out. We liked to imagine the Haughey family sitting around the box like the Carruth family back in Drimnagh in 1992.

Sean, re-elected to the Dáil this year as part of the general Fianna Fail revival, has been tweeting furiously in support of his first cousin.

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Her pride at being the first Hong Kong swimmer to compete in the Olympics in yonks means she is unlikely to shift allegiance in that time. Nonetheless, we are fully in camp Siobhan. When she does take gold in four years, we would hope she'll at least take in on a tour of Clontarf.

Read more: KNEEJERK: Our Controversial Columnist Knows Why GAA Players All Love Sky Sports

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