Is this brave or foolish or just an attempt to sell more papers? Whatever it is, it’s yet another article, this time from The Telegraph newspaper mixing Rory McIlroy, religion and the 2016 Olympics.
Here’s a snippet and here’s the link. I do have a few issues after!
“I’d love to win an Olympic gold medal,” McIlroy told this newspaper in 2009, when golf was accepted as part the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. In a remark that risked provoking a firestorm of sectarian sniping, the Ulsterman added: “I’d probably play for Great Britain.” To date, it was his only substantive comment on the subject of his twin allegiance to Britain and the Republic of Ireland — the vexed question that, in an Olympic context, dare not speak its name.
So sensitive is the issue of McIlroy’s national loyalties that, when an Irish tricolour was tossed in his direction after the US Open triumph at Congressional, video evidence suggested it was hastily removed by security guards. McIlroy, for his part, has not demonstrated the slightest aversion to the green, white and orange but simply an acceptance that any display of partisanship would only be provocative. “Whatever I say is going to upset someone,” he shrugged.
It is regrettable that McIlroy should be facing such a dilemma, when his second major title at the US PGA is a cause for jubilation on both sides of the Irish border. And yet he is under pressure to declare his hand for the Rio Olympics because he is Catholic. His great friend and compatriot, Graeme McDowell, is spared the same predicament as a Protestant, since it is widely expected that he will compete for Britain.
But Northern Irish Catholics tend, as boxing medallists Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan showed at London 2012, to align themselves with the Republic. Representing Britain would, at one time, have been deemed perfidious, equivalent to backing a state that they perceived as oppressive.
All very nicely written but aren’t there a few sweepers in there. Especially the bit about GMac being spared the predicament because he’s protestant. Is that correct? If I recall correctly GMac said after the 2010 US Open that his Mum is Catholic, his Dad is Protestant and that he grew up Presbyterian!
And the Irish amateur boxing team, like the rugby and amateur golf team have an All Ireland system. I doubt Billy Walsh and co give a flying monkeys what religion an amateur boxer is, as long as he’s from the island and can outpoint a Cuban.
Why cant we build a bridge and remove religion from complicating this debate for everybody, not least for Rory and GMac?
But nice try Telegraph.