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William struggles to juggle as he marks Galway’s year of culture

Four balls proved too much for the Duke of Cambridge who was accompanied by Kate as they near the end of their three-day tour.

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The Duke of Cambridge juggles during a special event at the Tribeton restaurant in Galway (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Duke of Cambridge juggles during a special event at the Tribeton restaurant in Galway (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Duke of Cambridge juggles during a special event at the Tribeton restaurant in Galway (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Duke of Cambridge showed off his juggling skills to the delight of his wife as they celebrated Galway’s year as the European Capital of Culture.

William kept three balls in the air with ease, revealing a career in the circus is always an option for the future king.

But when a fourth was added the gravity defying display quickly came to an end and, when the balls tumbled to the ground, the couple laughed.

The duke and duchess, who wore a dress by Suzannah, were in good spirits despite their arrival in Galway being delayed by over an hour due to foggy conditions in Dublin which delayed their helicopter flight.

Galway will see over 1,900 events across more than 150 projects during 2020 with local and international artists taking part in the year-long culture festival.

The royal couple are coming to the end of a three-day tour of Ireland, and visited the city’s Tribeton, a bar and eatery, to learn about acts like Galway Community Circus and the basketball project Hoops which will be featured during the year.

William put on his display after the couple watched two performers from the circus, juggler Tony Mahon, 31, from Dublin, and Isabela Mello, 26, from Brazil – now based in Galway, who were “handstanding” for the couple.

The duke, who said he had done “a bit of juggling”, took three balls, and chatting to the reporters and cameras, joked: “I’ll try this in front of a load of you and flashing cameras, ha, here goes.”

He kept the balls in the air for around 15 seconds, before deciding to “up the stakes” with a fourth ball – at which point he managed around two juggles before they came tumbling down.

“Ha. I think I’ll just stick with three,” he said.

Mr Mahon, who has been juggling for 14 years, said he was “very impressed” with William’s skills, he added: “He really exceeded my expectations. Even trying four balls – that’s next level stuff.”

Later Kate joined William in a display of sporting dexterity when they met school children taking part in the traditional Irish sports of hurling and Gaelic football.

The youngsters were accomplished players and made it look easy when the duke and duchess, changed into sporting casual wear, lined up for football drill practice – bouncing the ball as they ran and then punting it to the next person.

A huge ironic cheer went up from a group of spectators at the local Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club every time William and Kate spilled the ball as they raced across the pitch.

Emily Fallon, aged eight, who plays as a forward, had punted the ball to William and said: “It was fun, they’re good but they dropped the ball a lot.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Ireland – Day 3
The Duke of Cambridge takes a big swing (Facundo Arrizabalaga/PA)

The couple then tried shooting practice at 10-year-old hurling goalie Fionn Molloy and as his wife stepped up for her first attempt, William gently teased her, saying: “You’re on camera. No pressure!”

Kate swung and missed twice, when she threw the ball – known as a sliotar in hurling – in the air and tried to hit it with a stick. But she connected the third time and it flew over the bar – worth one point while under is three.

William had more luck with his hand-eye co-ordination and his first attempt flew high, then the duke and duchess both hit the post and the crossbar before they finally scored.

Hurling coach Carol O’Connell said about the couple’s performance: “It was actually very impressive because it’s not that easy – she started good initially and he had power in his shot.”

Ten-year-old Fionn thought the duchess, a former hockey player, had a future in the game.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Ireland – Day 3
The Duchess of Cambridge chats to youngsters at the club (Facundo Arrizabalaga/PA)

He said: “It was cool playing with them, I think Kate was better, she had powerful shots.”

Speaking after the visit, club secretary Conor McGauran said: “Symbolically it’s a massive deal for us. The royals have never set foot in a GAA club before. They’re doing it in our club in Galway and in Salthill and Knocknacarra today. It’s hugely emotional for us.

“It’s history being made. Plain and simple. People have been in Croke Park before but they’ve never been in a GAA club before and I think it’s a massive indication from the royal family about their hopes and intentions to connect even further with the community of Ireland, not just parts of Ireland or the hierarchy.

“This is more than just symbolic, this is them playing our national sport, this is them getting involved in a community-based organisation that’s completely run by volunteerism, so to me it’s a huge message of support for Irish-British relations.”

PA