Northern Ireland

Robbie Keane a big hit at the White House

US president Barack Obama singled out Robbie Keane, captain of the Republic of Ireland football team, for a special mention at a White House reception, calling him "a cousin of mine".

The president was honouring the LA Galaxy team for winning the Major League Soccer cup for the third time.

Introducing the team he said: "We've got Robbie Keane all-time leading scorer of the Irish national team."

He paused before adding: "a cousin of mine..."

"Robbie arrived halfway through last season, scored his first goal in the first 21 minutes of his first game," Mr Obama said.

"His teammates were so happy to have him they filled his locker with what they call the pleasures of Ireland, Guinness, Baileys and Irish Spring.

"Hopefully Robbie has broadened their horizons a little bit since then."

The president then went on to make jokes at the expense of Keane's teammate David Beckham, claiming the former England star was old enough to be the father of some of the players.

He went on to say that the 37 year old Englishman was tough.

"It's a rare man that can be that tough on the field and have his own line of underwear," he added.