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Paddy Barnes Will Carry The Flag And It's All Very Different To What Was Said A Few Years Ago

Paddy Barnes Will Carry The Flag And It's All Very Different To What Was Said A Few Years Ago
By Gary Reilly Updated

If any ever deserved to carry the flag for Ireland at the Rio Olympics, you'd have to say that it's Paddy Barnes. His third Olympics in a row and without a doubt one of the most entertaining athletes on the island, Barnes was always likely to be near the top of the list when it came to naming our flag bearer. Today the news has duly come through that, Pat Hickey, the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, has confirmed that the Belfast boxer will be the one to carry the flag into the Olympic Stadium in Rio.

Our primary concern for all this flag bearing business is that Barnes will now be too busy to fervently document every moment of the opening ceremony on social media but that's a drawback we're willing to endure given the fact that Barnes is so deserving of the honour.

It could however, have been rather different.

He's all signed up now but back in 2012, when Rory McIlroy was 'between islands' for want of a better phrase, Pat Hickey made a rather controversial announcement that McIlroy would be 'in pole position' to carry the Irish flag if it meant he decided to represent the Irish team in Rio.

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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. What he has done on the world stage for Irish golf is absolutely astonishing. Personally, I would dearly love for him to represent Ireland.

Sure enough, he has gone on to confirm that he will represent Ireland and we're all delighted about that but it's probably a good thing to hear that, for whatever reason, Hickey and the Olympic Council of Ireland opted for Barnes instead. (It is worth noting that the men's golf is six days after the opening ceremony, so it's quite possible that members of the team won't actually be there)

A good decision, not least because the double bronze medal boxer wouldn't have been too happy to be overlooked for his fellow Ulsterman. Barnes has already joked this morning that he would 'have gone mental' had he not been selected and his thoughts on the issue from a couple of years ago would certainly suggest that Barnes is happy to be leading the team instead of McIlroy.

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It's 100 days to the start of the Games and now we actually do know that the flag bearer is Paddy Barnes and for the sake of a nice harmonious team, we'd like to commend the Olympic Council for their choice. However, if Barnes forgets his Twitter/selfie duties on the night, we may have to rethink that statement.

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