Love Island: Who is the new Irish contestant and will he end up in a love triangle?
The rugby player says he is looking for love, but will he end up in another love triangle?
You have to hand it to Maura Higgins from Longford, who is playing the Love Island game with the unbridled energy of a whack-a-mole. There was Tommy, he of the “fanny flutters” fame in the very first instance, before Tom replaced him in the Longford woman’s affections. Then, there was Dannon for a brief period, then Marvin for an even briefer period, then Curtis. Despite doing battle with Francesca for the latter and coming out on top, Maura is officially coupled up with Chris (oh, do keep up).
Yet last night, and with the end of the show in sight (13 days to go), a proverbial cat among the pigeons touched down in Palma, in the form of a possibly Olympics-bound Limerick rugby player. Greg O’Shea entered the villa and immediately went on a date with Amber, yet already appears to have Maura in his crosshairs. Will Maura ever escape her fate as a love-triangle prong? It’s not looking likely.
“Irish people bring a different edge to the villa,” noted the 24-year-old before arriving onto Love Island, adding that he believed he would “hit it off straight away” with Maura. While he likes a woman who “backs herself”, Greg is turned off by those who take too many selfies.
Greg is the second Irishman to try his chances at finding love/fame/Insta followers/whatever in the villa
“I need to get in the villa and see what the story is and who is good craic! I’d say me and Maura will hit it off straight away, being two Irish people and she’s hilarious.”
The Crescent College alumnus added: “She’s very naturally funny and she’s gorgeous as well so you never know.”
And not unlike Maura, Greg professes to be a bit battle-scarred romantically.
“I’ve always been a one-girl kind of guy… If I see a girl, I tend to fall for her hard. Hopefully that can happen again. After my last relationship I lost my faith in love so hopefully going into the villa can get my belief in love back.”
After Shannen Reilly-McGrath and Rob Lipsett (both bombshells in the 2017 series of Love Island), Yewande Biala (an early departee of this series) and Maura, Greg is the second Irishman to try his chances at finding love/fame/Insta followers/whatever in the villa.
The current series of Love Island USA (soon to be shown on Virgin Media 2) has Cormac Murphy, of course. Clare-born model and barman Cormac is commanding plenty of female attention, and bristling several male egos, in the USA series’ villa in Fiji.
“If I went to college I’d have a degree in women,” Cormac has famously said, while one of his fellow contestants, Mallory, has noted that he “is the kind of guy who will ruin your life”. Before appearing on the show, Cormac set out his stall on Instagram: “Get ready for some of that famous Irish charm.”
If Love Island has provided a neat snapshot of the current state of play with dating, it’s the villa’s toxic masculinity that has proved its most interesting trope
Cormac is evidently giving Maura a run for her money in the enthusiasm stakes, yet it’s worth noting that he’s being hailed for it (the Twitter peanut gallery have called him everything from “cocky” to “savage”). No one has yet to level the same criticism at him that Maura previously endured for roughly the same behaviour. No one has described him as “all-mouth”, “loud, attention-seeking” or a “bit cringe”. Cormac is “charming”, while Maura’s a “firebrand”.
As to how Greg is likely to fare in the villa, it’s hard to say. Will he immediately couple up with Maura and save himself the ignominy of many a round-the-pool chase? Will another contestant catch his attention with one of those much-talked-of “sparks”?
Or will he fall prey to the overwhelming culture of lad bants that has made the current series ever so slightly toxic to watch?
If Love Island has provided a neat snapshot of the current state of play with dating, it’s the villa’s toxic masculinity that has proved its most interesting trope. Day in day out, Love Island’s male contestants alternate their gym workouts with the sort of pubescent blokey guff designed to impress not so much their female counterparts as their fellow male islanders. The female contestants, in turn, spend much of their time having to call them out on their gaslighting, their “mugging them off”, their lack of respect.
Case in point: in last night’s show, Anton Danyluk – he of the self-confessed “wandering eye”, who until last week even the tide wouldn’t take out – was called out for disrespecting Belle, who he’s currently coupled up with. On an afternoon away from the villa with The Lads, Anton felt the need to prove his alpha credentials by asking for the phone number of a local barmaid. Belle responded by explaining to him that his need to impress the boys was getting “tedious”. Naturally, he was “done” with her for embarrassing him in front of the guys (it’s fine though, things were back on track as of last night). It really is the T-Birds with fewer clothes round here.
As a rugby player, it’s safe to assume that Greg is likely to be at least conversant in laddish bants. His talk of being a “one-girl kind of guy”, getting his “belief in love back” certainly hints at an earnest character, but will he be overwhelmed by the heady fog of The Banter? And will it get in the way of his finding romance, or even getting a stab at that £50,000 bounty? That’s anyone’s guess.