Britain Tries To Claim Ireland's Only Wimbledon Winner

Britain Tries To Claim Ireland's Only Wimbledon Winner
By Donny Mahoney Updated

Tell me where you've heard this one before: athlete who straddles national lines wins big tournament and a row breaks out over which country owns him. Before there was Rory McIlroy there was Harold Mahony, son of one of the wealthiest men in Ireland and Wimbledon winner in 1896. Mahoney was reared in Dromore Castle in Kerry and the fact that Mahony was an Irishman was generally accepted on either side of the Irish Sea, until last year when geneologists discovered Mahony had been born in Edinburgh. This led papers like the Independent to claim that he was Scotland's only winner of Wimbledon. Pretty pathetic stuff. Mahony was christened in Kenmare. It's like the Brits claiming Conor Niland was British because he was born in Birmingham. Even Mahony wikipedia lists the Union Jack beside his name.

The fact that Mahony strangely died in Kerry - he was found dead behind his bicycle at age 37- seems to qualify him for instant Irishman status, to me anyway. Extending the parallel between McIlroy and Mahony, it turns out Mahony also represented GB in the 1900 Olympics, winning a silver medal. Since Ireland didn't formally exist as a nation then, we'll never know what nation he identifies with. Regardless, hands off, Scotland, Harold's ours.

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