The incredible McAllister is on the Argentina team

From the Glens of Antrim, the Mac Allisters have traveled far down the generations – and one of those is now on the brink of World Cup glory.

Argentine midfielder Alexis McAllister is part of the Argentina squad preparing to face France in the World Cup Final on Sunday in Qatar.

It is understood that the 23-year-old traces his ancestral roots to the small seaside village of Koshendal, where his surname is a common name among locals, albeit with some spelling variation.

The Brighton & Hove Albion player has appeared on the biggest stage in world football, including scoring the opening goal in the… 2-0 in the group stage beat Polandis a source of great pride for those who live in an area where family traditions are strong.

Cushendall’s side will celebrate Argentina’s victory in the deciding game on Sunday and while much of the pre-match attention will focus on the legendary Lionel Messi, it’s Alexis McAllister’s name popping up on the tongues of locals.

“There appears to be an affair with one of the Argentine players. It’s been the talk of the town for the past week or two,” said Dominic McCallister, a corner shop owner.

Alexis McAllister (left) congratulates Lionel Messi after he scored a penalty in Argentina’s semi-final victory over Croatia.

“At first everyone thought it was a wrap-up, but now it’s real. Lots of boys have googled him and it seems his family originally came from Koshendal.

“They left Coshendall in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century it seems—his great, great predecessors. It was all talk, so we were watching it, wondering if we were connected in any way.”

“If you take the McAlisters out of Coshendall, there’s not much left, to be honest with you. There’s a bit of a fanfare. If he wins, we’ll have to go out and celebrate.”

“[Getting him to Cushendall] It can happen, strange things have happened.

“We’ll give it a try and we’ll call him if that’s the case. All I can say is ‘Come to Argentina!’.”

Fergus McAllister of the local GAA club said it was “incredible that McAllister will play for Argentina”.

Fergus joked: “I had already sent a message asking for two tickets to the World Cup Final, as a family member I thought I would deserve at least two tickets, but I haven’t had a response.”

The place is coming with them and there are two or three different ways of spelling it. There’s a McAlister with one L, and a McAllister with Ls, and the Mac Allister spelling, but that’s the Gaelic spelling for it.

“If I were to spell my name for a pitching match, this is how I would spell it.

“It would be more than welcome if Argentina won.”

Alexis McAllister
Alexis McAllister scored the first goal for Argentina in a 2-0 win over Poland in Qatar

“As far as anyone has been checking, his family came from Glenann in Cushendall. We think his great-grandfather was Alec McAllister.

“There is Alec McAllister still living in Glenan at this time, but we don’t think he is 100% directly connected.

We have stuff on Twitter about his relatives taking GAA trophies in Buenos Aires. They obviously have a GAA connection and they could have been playing here.

“He would be more than welcome if Argentina win the title on Sunday and who knows, if he gets word of this here he might come back to see where his family originated from.

He added, “We’re going to get him out of here and we’re going to give him a little ball and we’re going to show him what a real man’s game is” – referring to hurling.

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