Eight-year-old boy steals show singing Ireland’s Call before Six Nations clash with Italy

Stevie Mulrooney belts out Ireland's Call
Stevie Mulrooney belts out Ireland's Call - Getty Images/Piaras Ó Mídheach

Leinster wing James Lowe eventually took the man-of-the-match honours for his all-action performance in Ireland’s 36-0 thrashing of Italy on Sunday. But most of social media had already awarded it to Stevie Mulrooney, an eight-year-old from Kilkenny whose belting rendition of Ireland’s Call before the game got the home team off to “a great start”, according to head coach Andy Farrell.

Farrell could be seen beaming from ear to ear after listening to Mulrooney, who had been invited to sing earlier in the week by Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier, having first risen to national prominence on The Late, Late Toy Show, an annual, special edition of the Irish chat show The Late Late Show.

Mulrooney first sang the song in last November’s programme, before being surprised on stage by Peter O’Mahony and Bundee Aki.

Farrell was hugely impressed by the confidence Mulrooney showed in front of 52,700 fans at the Aviva Stadium, performing after Jennifer Dalton had sung the Italian anthem and Amhran na bhFiann.

“Oh wow,” said the Englishman. “I was just watching him the whole time. I didn’t know whether he was standing with his mother or not but when I realised the other lady was not his mother and was singing the national anthem for the Italians … his confidence was amazing and I actually thought I wish our lads are going to be like that.

“He’s got his shoulders back. He was ready. He was waving to the crowd, stood there on his own.

“I thought, ‘this kid’s got it all’. He was amazing. He nailed it, didn’t he? It was a great start.”

Ireland ran in six tries as they underlined their credentials as the team to beat and Farrell said: “To put in a performance like that where I thought we were clinical at times, I thought our set piece was excellent, top drawer, and then scoring some nice tries on the back of all that type of pressure was very pleasing to get over the line.

“Two from two. It’s a decent start. It gets tougher from here on in.”