Rory gets Games offer to carry Tricolour

Published Tuesday, 09 October 2012
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The chairman of the Irish Olympic committee said Rory McIlroy could carry the Tricolour at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Games if he declares for Ireland.

Rory gets Games offer to carry Tricolour
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell celebrate the Ryder Cup. (© Getty)

Pat Hickey made the comments in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

He said: "I will say to Rory that if he declares for Ireland, then he will automatically put himself in pole position to carry the Irish Tricolour into the Olympic stadium in Rio.

"Can you just imagine what something like this would do for Rory McIlroy?

"It would suddenly catapult him into the realms of being one of the most instantly recognizable sporting faces on the planet. Because make no mistake about it, that's what carrying the flag does for people."

McIlroy, who was born in Holywood, can choose to declare for Team GB or Team Ireland if he competes in Rio four years from now, when golf becomes an Olympic sport.

The 23-year-old two time major winner has given hints about allegiance in the past and said in a recent interview he "felt more British than Irish", suggesting he has made up his mind.

However McIlroy later clarified his thoughts in an open letter posted on social media network Twitter by saying he is still undecided.

"I am a proud product of Irish golf and the Golfing Union of Ireland and am hugely honoured to have come from very rich Irish sporting roots," the golfer wrote.

"I am also a proud Ulsterman who grew up in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. That is my background and always will be.

"Whatever I do, I know my decision is going to upset some people but I just hope the vast majority will understand."

Mr Hickey accepted the past comments of McIlroy - who was seen draped in the flag of the Ulster Banner as he celebrated Europe's Ryder Cup win in Medina last month - but said that nowadays the star player might be thinking differently.

He continued: "You know it was over two years ago when Rory made some rash comments about representing Team GB.

"I think that he was perhaps a little immature back then and although he reiterated them again recently, in his present state of mind right now, I feel that he might be thinking differently."

© UTV News
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33 Comments
Iain in Belfast wrote (773 days ago):
Jeez marty, some of you lot have short memories or jekyl and hyde personalities. Oh its ok for the Gibson's and Mclean's to choose to represent Ireland and you laud them as fine Irishmen, when Rory contemplates doing something different you all quickly pore scorn on him. Narrow minded bigotry or what? You can't have everything your own way and can someone please tell me where it says that catholic's cannot represent NI as that is where is was born and raised? Are you lot the same group of people who claim ordinary catholic's are intimidated from representing NI in any sport because of sectarian issues? The only sectarian issues seem to be from those of you who are quite happy to attack Rory for having a mind of his own. Hypocritical much?
me in larne wrote (773 days ago):
i wonder if we had of offered james maclean and darron gibson the opportunaty to carry a flag on the 12th would they have chose to play for northern ireland ?
Catherine in Ireland wrote (773 days ago):
John in Armagh, don't delude yourself that people in the ROI are wringing their hands because Rory is British, not Irish. This is practically a non-story down here and Hickey's ridiculous remarks do not represent us. We have our own athletes, as well as some great athletes from N. Ireland who have chosen to represent Team Ireland. We may not have the medal haul of Team GB but we have done ok and will contiue to do so, without any assistance from Rory McIlroy. I would frankly be ashamed if he accepted flag-bearing duties for Team Ireland. We have pride too, you know.
Marty in Singapore wrote (774 days ago):
Ryan in Belfast and SB in Belfast are spot on! We don't need him! British sports men shouldnt be allowed to represent team Ireland. Rory was only Irish when it helped his career... Millions of other young people would give anything to carry our flag into rio lets drop this subject and focus on real Irish talent.
James in Coalisland wrote (774 days ago):
These comments from Pat Hickey are hardly likely to convince Rory to represent Ireland. To say that his fame would be increased by carrying the flag for Ireland is rubbish. It actually took me a good 3 or 4 minutes to remember who carried it this time around. McIloy is already recognised globally and by 2016 will be even more so. Hickeys comments are actually an embarrassment ad show once again that idiots seem to have an umcanny ability to get themselves into top positions within Irish sport.
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