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Ross O’Carroll-Kelly: ‘I genuinely don’t think I’m ready to be a Blackrock dad’

Willow Pork is the only school to take the triplets, they’ve been on Joe Duffy too many times

I've been around a few corners in my time. I've seen a lot of things. And yet even I'm still capable of being shocked. Like, for instance, when I walk into the kitchen and see Brian, Johnny and Leo dressed in the school uniform… of Willow Pork.

I actually laugh at first? I'm like, "What's the deal here? Are they going to, like, a fancy dress porty or something?"

Yeah, no, that's how not ready I am to hear what I end up hearing next?

“No, Ross,” Sorcha goes, “these are their new school uniforms.”

I’m like, “What the literally-?”

“Ross, I told you six months ago that if you didn’t find a school for them I would do it instead.”

“I’m still looking, Sorcha.”

“Well, you can stop looking now because in a week’s time they’re going to be storting in Willow Pork.”

I spot the little crest on Johnny's jumper: the pigeon doing the divebomb, along with the words Fides et Robur, meaning life is rugby. One Leinster Schools Senior Cup in seven years? Yeah, sure it is, goys.

I end up having to turn away.

“Jesus, I can’t look at them,” I go. “I can’t look at my own children.”

“Ross,” she goes, “I think you’re being overly dramatic.”

He's storted two fires, Sorcha – both minor. I'd hordly say that's obsessed

I’m like, “Let me make some calls, Sorcha. I’ve still got a week to stop this from happening, don’t I?”

She’s there, “Ross, we’ve been through this – no other school will take our kids!”

This is sadly true. Let's just say that their reputation has got around. There isn't a children's play centre or petting zoo south of the Grand Canal that they're not actually borred from? They've been thrown out of Imaginosity, the Fun Factory, DL Kids and the Airfield Estate, sometimes with a follow-up legal letter confirming the arrangement that we never dorken their door again.

“How many times have they been mentioned on Joe Duffy?” Sorcha goes.

I'm there, "Six or seven. But I thought a lot of those callers were exaggerating how bad they are. One of them said Johnny was obsessed with fire. He's storted two fires, Sorcha – both minor. I'd hordly say that's obsessed."

“Well, exaggerating or not, Ross, no school wants to take them.”

“Then I’ll home-school them.”

"You've been home-schooling them – for, what, the past year? And they're falling behind."

“Not in terms of rugby, they’re not.”

Johnny is pulling the stuffing out of one of the kitchen chairs and attempting to light it. I take his little Zippo from him and he calls me a bunch of names that would be unpublishable in a newspaper such as this, especially in the current climate.

Sorcha goes, “Rugby? That’s what this is about, isn’t it?”

I'm there, "Of course that's what this is about. Do I need to remind you of some of the things I've said about Blackrock College over the years? Things that I can never take back, Sorcha, even if I wanted to. Which I don't."

“There is more to life than petty school rivalries, Ross.”

"Yeah, I'll remind you of that when one of them storts dating someone from Loreto Dalkey. Or Muckross. Oh, it'll be a different story then."

“I honestly don’t think I’d mind.”

“We’ll see, Sorcha. We’ll see. I genuinely don’t think I’m ready to be a Blackrock dad. I’d nearly prefer if we didn’t send them to school at all.”

“Now you’re being ridiculous.”

"Imagine the fun that the likes of Luke Fitzgerald and Ian Madigan are going to have with this when it gets around. Which it will."

“Who cares what other people think?”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Johnny punches me full in the groin and goes, “Me want my focking lighter! Me want my focking lighter!”

I'm, like, doubled over in pain, going, "No, Johnny, because you were told to only use it outside the house," deciding that a bit of tough love is maybe what these kids need. "You can have it back in a week."

Well, sending the boys to a non-fee-paying school would be the final confirmation for them that we've failed as parents

Again, he gives it to me with both barrels, calling me this, that and the other. Hey, I’m used to taking S, H, One, T, from people in the Blackrock College uniform – I just never thought it would happen with one of my kids.

I’m like, “What if we sent them to-?”

Sorcha’s there, “Don’t say it, Ross.”

“I’m going to say it, Sorcha – a non-fee-paying school?”

She turns away.

She’s like, “I couldn’t do it, Ross. Imagine what my mum and dad would say?”

“Okay,” I go, “what happened to who cares what other people think?”

She’s there, “I just don’t want to give my dad the pleasure of saying I told you so.”

“In terms of?”

"Ross, you know he thinks we're in some way responsible for how our children have turned out."

“But sure that’s ridiculous. We give them everything they want – no questions asked. Here, Johnny, take your focking lighter if you’re going to be a baby about it.”

"Well," she goes, "dad has always said we were too soft on them – as, like, parents?"

“What, and that’s why no school will take them? That’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?”

“My mum thinks we’ve spoiled them as well.”

“Look, some kids are just dicks, Sorcha. Including all of ours. It’d be typical of that pair to try to connect the dots. Two dopes.”

“Well, sending the boys to a non-fee-paying school would be the final confirmation for them that we’ve failed as parents and I’m not going to give them that pleasure.”

I’m there, “Just let me make some calls, Sorcha. I’m sure I can find a school that will take them in a week. I’ve got a Leinster Schools Senior Cup medal. That still means something in this town. Even though it was taken off me for doping.”

“Ross, no,” she goes. “It’s too late.”

“Daddy, look!” I hear Leo suddenly go.

I turn around to be greeted by a sight that almost stops my literal hort. Leo is wearing a rugby jersey – that rugby jersey. The famous blue and white. And that ends up being the moment when I run crying from the room.

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