The more diverse Ireland becomes, the more work it will take to ensure names are treated with respect

In hindsight, it was perhaps a harmless gag, a mere pun that – I know only too well – could prove impossible to resist.

But there’s context that helps explain why some of us move a little uncomfortably on the sofa Saturday night and think Gary Lineker has gone a bit.

Adam Idah


Adam Idah
Andrew Omobamidele


Andrew Omobamidele

After highlights of Norwich City’s win over Everton were shown in Match of the Day, Lineker said: “The goal was scored by Republic of Ireland International IDah.

“I’m not sure if it’s Idah (ee-dah) or Idah (eye-dah) but it’s definitely (ee-ther) or or (eye-ther). We will go with Idah (ee-dah). ”

Well-crafted, though doesn’t deserve Micah Richards’ support in the hysterics.

Like I said, it’s just a word game and a joke to show how different people’s pronunciation of a word doesn’t sound like a 20 year old girl’s last name, so in terms of it, no big deal. slap all.

But there are two factors to consider here.

If you’ve spent your life with people who constantly mispronounce your name, you may not be inclined to laugh along, especially after that landmark first Premier League goal.


And, although Lineker ended with the correct answer, his humorous improvisation was more likely to cause confusion than to provide clarity.

In September 2020, the day after his Ireland debut against Bulgaria, Adam Idah had trouble spelling it out – EE-DAH – on Twitter.

Admittedly, that was followed by a laughing emoji but the fact that he felt emotional tweeting it in the first place after his first win is instructive.

A name inextricably linked to someone’s identity who, for Idah, is a Corkman born and raised to an Irish mother and Nigerian father.

If we can all get his first name right then we can certainly do the same with his last name, even if it takes a little more effort.

If people can’t be bothered with that, it’s hard to take it as anything other than a sign of disrespect.


This is something we can determine, based on the general Irish experience of wincing when, once again, a British commentator takes on an Irish name.

Perhaps there were instances before that but it became more and more apparent as Ireland began to enjoy a bit of success under Jack Charlton.

We listened in horror as Paul McGrath’s last name was created as a chart to show trends.

And we consider it perplexed because Kevin Moran’s work is made to be in tune with the central religious text of Islam.

Sure, we asked ourselves, if they were having trouble doing their homework to make sure they were perfect while reeling in the names of the Soviet players at Euro ’88, would they be able to put in the effort. same for us?

Things don’t exactly improve over time.


By the time the 2002 World Cup finals took place, people here had come to the conclusion that they would rather hear someone constantly scratching their nails on a blackboard than hear the last name of a British butcher commentator Mark Kinsella. .

And, even today, we’re faced with Matt Doherty being made to sound as if it were a hot drink served to someone who had unloaded a ship in Dublin Harbour.

Likewise, there are many people who don’t use Die Hard as a reference point for James McClean and instead make him look like a run-through car wash where you can also get a Happy Meal.

Yes, that might be how you think it should be pronounced but that’s not his name.

Imagine how much worse things could have been if it weren’t for Steve Staunton’s arrival for the great team in 2007 that a player, Joe O Cearuill, whose surname was in Ireland, won a starting spot.

At least there seems to have been an attempt made with the first names of both Séamus Coleman and his Merseyside colleague Caoimhín Kelleher.


One suspects that it’s because, at least in the second case, it looks so daunting that people realize they need immediate help instead of trying to reach it alone.

As someone who has probably been called Niall by many people in his life as well as they have used my real name – even in email replies where they put my name there in the print – perhaps this makes me worry more than others.

I also recall with horror how an Irish cosmopolitan born and raised in England made part of my surname sound like it rhymes with Winnie the Pooh’s capricious donkey.

It’s true that we don’t always make it easy for ourselves.

Unable to agree on Irish names for our three children – we chose one Basque and two Bibles, all confusing for many – instead, my wife and I compromised by their surname is Gaeilge.

As a result there are now four different surnames in our house.


Then we got into regional variations, like Cork’s distinctive way of saying Coughlan, different from the rest of the country – that’s their calling card – and how many of us developed misspelling Conor Hourihane’s last name – again it would be fine outside of Cork – until he pointed this out in 2019.

He stresses how much he has endured being called Hoor-a-hin during a decade in Britain when, in fact, it should have been How-rah-hin.

It took a lot of goals to get the message that Dundalk’s Norwegian Gal Pat Hoban was a Hoo-bin and not a Hoe-bin.

And the more diverse Ireland becomes, the more work must be done to ensure names are treated with respect.

In response to that tweet 16 months ago, Shelbourne replied and tagged their striker Jaze Kabia – a close friend of Idah, who now plays for Livingston – telling him he would be next.

He duly announced to the online world that it was Kay-B-Ah, a surprise to those who had gone to great lengths to make it rhyme with Ya Boy Ya, even though his father was Jason has also played in the Irish League.


Along with Idah, there are three other players with one or two Nigerian parents on the Ireland team, and the least we can do is make sure we’re fluent in the pronunciations of Gavin Bazunu, Andrew Omobamidele and Gavin Bazunu and Andrew Omobamidele. Chiedozie Ogbene.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Norwich defender’s name proved to be the most challenging to wrap our tongues around but all it required was a bit of practice.

With potential future senior internationals Danny Mandroiu and Sammie Szmodics, there are also Romanian and Hungarian names to capture.

And, while I’ve objected to FAI’s use of cosmetics like FAI’s MNT and WNT, there’s one thing Yanks does very well.

Visit most club websites in any sport and chances are the players’ names are spelled out phonetically, meaning any reason for mispronunciation is eliminated.

Because, when saying someone’s name, or just don’t cut it. The more diverse Ireland becomes, the more work it will take to ensure names are treated with respect

Fry Electronics Team

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