Mixed reaction to McIlroy’s long awaited decision on Olympic colours

Rory McIlroy who has opted for Team Ireland
Rory McIlroy who has opted for Team Ireland

There has been a mixed reaction to news that Rory McIlroy will represent Team Ireland at the next Olympics.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said it was up to the Holywood golfer who he chose to play for.

“It’s his choice. Would have liked him to play for our own UK team but regardless I’ll be keeping an eye out for him,” Mr Campbell said.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt also said he had no issue with McIlroy’s Olympic allegiance.

In a message posted on Twitter, the Strangford MLA said: “Fully support Rory McIlroy’s decision to play for Ireland in 2016 Olympics. It is HIS choice.”

The Republic’s junior sports minister Michael Ring said: “I am delighted Rory has declared for Ireland.”

Mr Ring added: “To have a two-time major winner declaring for Ireland is superb and will surely improve our medal hopes.”

The welcome was not as warm as would have been expected from boxer Paddy Barnes who took to social media to question the decision.

The Belfast man raised a few eyebrows with this post on his Twitter account: “The reason I don’t like McIlroy representing Ireland at the Olympics is because he doubted going for Ireland, you should be proud to!”

Barnes also tweeted: “Ireland’s golf team should be – Shane Lowry, Graham McDowell and Padraig Harrington!”

In a third message, he said: “2 years to the Olympics and already we know who the Flag Bearer is......Rory Mcilroy.”