Love Island: Greg O’Shea is self-possessed, not a showboater. Your mammy would love him

Takeaway moments from eight weeks of sun, sea, sangria and snogging with benefits

Limerick man Greg O'Shea and his partner Amber Gill, from Newcastle, have been crowned the winners of Love Island 2019. Video: Virgin Media

 

There are the “fenny fluthars”, and then there’s seeing Limerick’s very own Greg O’Shea busting out his moves in a tux, after reading a self. Penned. Poem.

“That perfect balance of honesty and sass / and of course we can’t forget about your gorgeous ass,” Greg intoned to Amber Gill as a nation swooned all over their sofas. After that double fanny – I mean, whammy – there wasn’t a male islander (not even Ovie) who got a look at that £50,000 prize. And so it came to pass that the Irish rugby player won the 2019 series of Love Island with his fan-favourite partner.

More’s the pity, we viewers were denied the chance to watch Maura Higgins romp to victory as half of the winning couple and then, with an almighty cackle, snaffle the prize money from under a moist-eyed, wibbly Curtis Pritchard. Nope, in the end we were robbed of such poetic justice – Maura saw her less-than-convincing romance shunt her into a rather anticlimactic fourth place – and true love won. Well, kinda.

Despite being a latecomer to the eight-week fandango – he had less than a fortnight to work on his tan – Greg had entered professing that he was a good boy, with decent morals and principles. It sounded deathly boring at the time, of course, but in the end he became an antidote of sorts to the toxic masculinity, chaaaaldish goings-on and juvenile pack mentality that made the reality show so grimily compulsive.

Even better, Greg seemed to genuinely like and respect Amber, with no ulterior motives lurking in the background. They appeared to have a laugh, and humour is a rare enough thing in the Majorcan villa.

If you reckoned Love Island was an unending succession of women calling out men for not treating them the way they deserved, you’d be dead right. Yet Greg was above all of this. He was himself, quietly self-possessed, with no need to showboat. Your mammy would love him.

Curtis couldn’t have been more slithery had he been drenched in cut-price sun shimmer. Which he could well have been. In any case, he very likely dented Maura’s chance of winning.

Will Greg be awarded the freedom of Limerick, and given a ride from the airport in an open-top bus? Either way, the starting pistol has fired for the race to secure all those lucrative sponsorship and media deals.

Maura will probably prove the show’s long-term winner in matters of the bank balance, if not in matters of the heart. Greg will return to preseason training for the World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai in late August, so he’d want to get a wriggle on if he wants to get his #spon on. Yet social-media experts, factoring in her 1.5 million followers, reckon she could easily command up to €20,000 for a single Instagram post. (Yeah, how’s your morning commute going today?)

It may not have been the series ending viewers expected. After all, Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury had long been the bookies’ favourites. But, still, this year’s Love Island has been a series with no shortage of takeaway moments.

Seven things we learned from Love Island 2019

  • Dating as a member of Gen Z looks tough. Sometimes you have to deal with guys who reckon that gaslighting, a sense of entitlement, and swapping you out for another, hotter woman after professing unending love are perfectly acceptable. Worse again, some of them think it’s perfectly fine to bitch about you to the guys, especially if you’ve had the temerity to confront them about their untoward behaviour. Because who wants to look whipped in front of the lads? Not this lot. Unfortunately for them, these women want and expect more from their partners.
  • A decent and mannerly male who gives even a modicum of a damn about a woman’s feelings, conversely, will be damn near canonised. This goes double if they’re looking out for a girl they’re not romantically interested in. If Ovie Soko isn’t on the ballot paper in the UK’s next general election I’ll eat my bucket hat.
  • Part of Love Island’s undeniable appeal, apart from all that visual ambrosia, is that it delivers a potent, slightly reassuring message for its young audience. Even if you are the most beautiful, popular, confident and telegenic human ever to come out of Essex/Longford/Stoke-on-Trent, you are not immune from the humiliating sting of romantic rejection.
  • It’s perfectly fine for women to like and want sex. It’s also fine for women to take charge and be the pursuers of sex. Well, I say fine, but what in fact happens is that the guy you’re dating reckons you’re a bit “cringe and OTT” for it, and the Twitterati will flame you for being an out-and-out sexual predator. Le sigh. Seemingly, being sexually comfortable, or even expressing any sort of desire, makes a woman like Maura game for just about anything, with anyone. At least Lena Dunham digs it.
  • Girlcode is a little confusing. Viewers will recall how Maura wasted no time in doffing her cap at Tommy, to the consternation of Mollie-Mae. Yet when asked why she didn’t couple up with Curtis immediately, despite him sliding into her DMs months previously, Maura – by now a consummate girl’s girl – explained: “I would have went for Curtis, but he was with Amy, and I didn’t want to tread on anyone’s toes.” Oh-kay, then.
  • Whatever about heterosexual romance, it has become patently clear that Love Island’s real winners were the women who enjoyed heady, potent girlmances. When Anna Vakili left the villa her pals gave her the sort of hysterical goodbye usually reserved for the funerals of North Korean leaders. (There was less than a week to go, women.) Prospective Love Island contestants, take note: you may not meet your sexual soulmate in there, but you’re very likely to come out with the sort of BFF you’d post bail for at 4am.
  • We should have a moment’s silence for whichever poor Love Island producer had to collate a video package of the many, many couplings, dumpings, recouplings, love triangles and love squares for a five-minute recap. We are talking hadron-collider levels of brainpower to keep up with it all. Anyone who says Love Island is mere bubblegum for the brain has no clue what they’re talking about.
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