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It's Time For All The Bullshit Around Rory McIlroy To End Once And For All

Gary Reilly
By Gary Reilly
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The greatest Irish sportsperson in history. It's a list that we wouldn't even dare try to define without some long running public consultation but if anyone wants to suggest that Rory McIlroy isn't comfortably in the top 10 and at least pushing the top 5 then we're more than willing to engage in a heated but nonetheless jovial discussion on the matter.

At the age of 27, McIlroy's accomplishments far exceed almost anything we've ever seen from an Irish sportsperson and the fact that he's only entering what you'd imagine will be his peak years should mean he's championed as the national hero that he fully deserves to be. And yet there's an interesting phenomenon which develops anytime Rory McIlroy does anything of note.

Irish media inevitably celebrate one of the most remarkable sportsmen this country has ever produced. The majority of fans take notice and celebrate but then there's a not insignificant minority that are having none of it and you better believe that they'll make their feelings known.


We've made up the following example but it should hopefully illustrate a point.

Headline - "Rory McIlroy claims Masters title with a broken right arm while teaching Irish to the underprivileged children of Augusta, Georgia"

Discerning Facebook commenter - "Ah fuck off with that west Brit bastard and tell him to piss off back to his Queen"

Now obviously enough, we're not calling for a homogenous society where we all share the same opinions and everyone goes out for ice-cream at the end of the day. Sport gives us a chance to get rightly pissed off with one another and it's a healthy outlet but the dissenting voices surrounding McIlroy take things a step further. For some it would appear that he's a man for whom no opportunity of redemption can be afforded.

His mistake was of course taking long than necessary to decide whether he would represent Ireland or Great Britain at this year's Olympics. He may come from Catholic stock but, at least in public, McIlroy is staunchly apolitical. However, if his decision to mull things over had nothing to do with politics then it's a fair assumption that commercial opportunities may have come into it.

Perhaps a British gold medal would have been worth more to him in a monetary sense but eventually he chose Ireland and that should have been that. However, it was never likely to be that simple and McIlroy has, perhaps justifiably, been running the PR gauntlet ahead of Rio 2016. This weekend, his race has surely ended in victory.


His drive to help turn the Irish Open into one of the biggest tournaments on the European Tour, the incredible performance at the K Club, the emotion that was evident on the 18th green and finally the announcement that his €666,000 prize would be split between Barretstown, the Jack and Jill Foundation, and the Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice.

If all of that isn't enough for every man, woman and child to accept Rory McIlroy as a proud Irishman at this year's Olympics then there's simply no more to be done. Ahead of Rio, there's nothing left to prove for McIlroy and that's the way it should be.

See also: The Emotional Story Behind Why Matthew Southgate Was In Tears At The Irish Open


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