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Dublin: 2°C Sunday 17 January 2021
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'He's our little gift from Emmeline' - Billy and Lanlih Holland welcome baby son after tragic loss

Great news for the Munster star and his wife.

Holland tweeted: 'Matthew Conor Holland, our gift from Emmeline. So proud of my wonderful wife Lanlih.'
Holland tweeted: 'Matthew Conor Holland, our gift from Emmeline. So proud of my wonderful wife Lanlih.'

AMID THE BAD news and coronavirus madness, one feel good story really stood out this week.

Munster star Billy Holland and his wife, Lanlih, welcomed their newborn son Matthew into the world after an extremely difficult period.

“He’s our little gift from Emmeline,” Holland has since said, referencing the couple’s daughter who died last year aged just six-months-old.

Billy and Lanlih spoke candidly in an emotional Late Late Show interview with Ryan Tubridy in January, and shared Emmeline’s story.

Born in November 2018, she was diagnosed with a heart defect. She battled through a minor heart surgery at five-months-old, though complications arose days afterwards and she died in her mother’s arms.

Speaking on the Late Late Show, the Hollands highlighted the phenomenal care their baby daughter received at CHI at Crumlin, while donations to the Brave Like Emmeline Holland fundraiser soared past €550,000.

“We’re delighted,” Billy told RTÉ’s Game On last night following the arrival of Matthew.

“Matthew’s really good and he’s our little gift from Emmeline and we are so proud of him.”

“We were blown away by the support,” he added on the reaction to Emmeline’s story and the funds raised there.

“The money raised by the Irish people was phenomenal. Not only that, for us it was the messages of support and the incredible number of families out there that have had variations of our story.

At times like now, and with our experiences of the last 18 months, sport pales by comparison, but we are very proud of what we did and the beautiful legacy of our little Emmeline.

“Her life will have such a positive impact on so many people.”

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Holland, who made his Ireland debut against Canada four years ago, went on to explain why the couple decided to go public about his daughter’s tragic story in a heartfelt interview with Donncha O’Callaghan, Marie Crowe and Ruby Walsh:

“The strength and courage she showed in her six months showed me there was a bigger picture out there.

Me, opening myself up and Irish men are really bad at showing emotion, I just felt we had to. We had to do something to tell people about Emmeline and I wanted people to know about my daughter.

“A by-product of that was to raise money for three charities and show support and solidarity to other parents who are suffering in silence.

“We owed it to Emmeline and her courage to do this.”


Source: RTÉ2fm/SoundCloud

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Emma Duffy

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