Peter O’Connor 1906….Rory McIlroy 2016.

Interesting thread on Slugger O’Toole ….where yet again the vexed question of the nationality of Rory McIlroy is discussed.

A matter for himself of course. He might declare for Britain. He might declare for Ireland. Or indeed neither. It is noted that he might be able to compete as an individual…but that seems unlikely. The example of athletes from the Netherlands Antilles (2012) is not appropriate. Rory might well consider himself to be “northern Irish” but if he is to compete in the Olympic Games as a golfer in 2016, it won’t be for Norn Iron…or as an individual.

There is simply no way that the International Olympic Committee will allow it. it would be a can of worms. There are almost certainly British athletes who would prefer to compete for Scotland…and probably others who would prefer to compete for Wales.

Not to mention…people from Katanga, Biafra, Bavaria and Quebec.

Yet….the most obvious precedent is missed by Slugger O’Toole.

In 1906, three athletes were sent from Ireland to compete for Ireland in the Athens Games. As Ireland had no National Olympic Committee but found that they were assigned to the British team. One…Peter O’ Connor won a Gold and Silver medal. At the Medal Ceremony the British flag was flown. O’ Connor did not like this and aided and abetted by Irish and Irish-American athletes scaled the flagpole and replaced it with an Irish Flag (the Erin go Bragh flag).

Will Rory climb a flagpole in Rio with a Norn Iron fleg?

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2 Responses to Peter O’Connor 1906….Rory McIlroy 2016.

  1. James says:

    I doubt Rory would do anything to antagonise anybody he’s almost like a symbol of the letsgetalongerist “tribe”. He’s already declared he feels more British than Irish and so would probably choose GB as is his right which I stand by. I don’t think it’s right that he should feel compelled to not compete out of risk of offending either side especially as a gold medal would only increase his marketability. What grates me is that if and when Rory chooses team GB unionists will hail it a some sort of “sign of the times” victory (that young Catholics are now asserting some kind of British identity). This all despite the fact in sporting terms the trend is that young Catholics are asserting (where they can) their Irish identity even more so (darron Gibson, Marc Wilson, James McLean, Shane Duffy, Paul George).

    • I think that’s true.
      I think journalists trying to get him to make a more definitive statement of his intent are doing him few favours. He will know that representing Britain will be more lucrative than representing Ireland.

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