Ryder Cup-winning captain Paul McGinley will once again lead Rory McIlroy into major competition after being announced as a leader of Ireland’s Olympic golf team for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.
The 47-year-old from Dublin led Europe to Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles in September and was hailed by McIlroy, the Belfast-born world number one who has opted to play for Ireland in Rio.
Following the Ryder Cup success, McIlroy said: “He has just been the most wonderful captain. I think I speak on behalf of all the 12 players and say he couldn’t have done anything else. He was fantastic.
“From the first day we got here, the speeches that he gave, the videos he showed us, the people that he got in to talk to us, the imagery in the team room, it all tied in together.
“It was all part of the plan, all for the cause of trying to win this Ryder Cup, and he was meticulous in his planning. He left no stone unturned.”
The Olympic Council of Ireland announced 17 leaders, including: McGinley (golf), Kevin Ankrom (athletics), Joseph Hennigan (boxing), Brian Nugent (cycling), Sally Filmer (gymnastics), Mike Heskin (hockey), Peter Banks (swimming).
Also named were Tom Reidy (badminton), Ike Jacob (canoeing), Jeffrey C McCready (clay pigeon shooting), Triona Connors (horse sport), Ciaran Ward (judo), Lindsey Weedon (modern pentathlon), Morten Espersen (rowing), Gillian McDarby (rugby sevens), James O’Callaghan (sailing) and Chris Kitchen (triathlon).
The leaders are “the person having the overall responsibility for that sport”, the Olympic Council of Ireland said.
“They will also be accountable for their athletes’ performance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, under the overall leadership of the Team Ireland chef de Mmssion, Kevin Kilty.”