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An interview with Con Houlihan
Hot Press spoke to with the late, great sportswriter in 1984...
Declan Lynch, 13 Dec 1984
Have you ever been married? “Well, I’ll tell you this way. I’ve been married about 11 times. Not legally, but, such is life. Obviously the first thing that attracts you to women is the sexual thing. That’s nature. That’s always there. Sex is a word I hate. It’s a bad word its been abused totally. In Western Europe, there’s the implication that there should be one relationship. The man/woman relationship. We’re brought up to believe that marriage should be man/woman, end of story.
“In primitive tribes, no way. I could never see a world where a man could love one woman only. You see, Western Europe and America has this myth. It’s the Woman Magazine. Buy this girl! The whole lie about marriage… I can love 40 girls at one time. At present I have a girlfriend. This belief that you meet a girl, have intercourse and get married – it’s a total lie. I could be fond of 40, 50 girls and my girlfriend could be too.
"It's a myth, marriage. Mary meets Paddy. For god's sake. Tomorrow morning you get married to Peggy. The following day you'd be looking at someone else – of course you would. It's a lie, it's a lie! Up in Iceland, most parents aren't married at all. I'm a great believer in single parenthood.
"Families! Oh Jesus, families are bad. I love a country where you can have a child and go your own way. Families are savage. I have a cousin now and he's so lucky. Born out of wedlock. Reared in an orphanage. He's now one of the leading conductors of classical music in the world. Lucky!"
What do you think of your fellow sports journalists?
"We're deeply flawed. Eamonn Dunphy, now, Eamonn and I are friends for a long time and he's a gentleman. I'm fond of Eamonn. But he has this idea, that if you're nasty you'll be great. Now, integrity is fundamental. Eamonn is the John Feeney of sport, creating sensations. It's flash. We have a column in the Press called 'The Expert', written by Jim Shanahan. It's a column that helps people with their tax and P.R.S.I. and so on, or if you lose something in Croke Park, you write in to try and get it back. That, to me, is fundamental. Jim Shanahan is totally unknown. I'm flash, you see. To me, in papers, people who do their little jobs quietly, like Jim Shanahan, are fundamental. If some day, you work at the Press, you come in and you see people buying it - what's the first thing they look at? It isn't the black page. No. They look at the ads."