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Rory McIlroy's achievements have made him a great ambassador for our country and he should now be applauded on his wedding day

Rory McIlroy is living every young man's dream - a jet set lifestyle sustained by huge wealth, a career playing a sport he loves and excels at and today marrying his beautiful American fiancee, Erica Stoll, at a lavish ceremony in Mayo with rumours of superstar entertainers and sportsmen attending.

While many will envy Rory and his success we really should applaud him. For like other sports stars from the province down the years he is a marvellous ambassador for Northern Ireland.

Not only has his status as a golfer helped to put his homeland firmly on the global map and influenced the decision to bring high profile events here - including the Open golf championship, but his stature as a person has also endeared him to many.

Like his golf drives, he answers straight down the middle when others question his motives or his leanings. His responses when asked about which nation - Great Britain or Ireland - he would represent at the Olympics or why he accepted an invitation to play golf with President Trump showed a young man confident in his own decisions and in what he represents.

He is a Catholic who supports the Northern Ireland football team and Ulster Rugby - his religion and these sports should not be mutually exclusive but to less open minds often are - and like boxer Carl Frampton he transcends tribal emotions here.

Rory is also a man who has succeeded on sheer talent and hard work and has acknowledged the huge debt he owes to his parents who helped develop his career. And through his foundation he uses some of his wealth to help young children with serious illnesses or from vulnerable backgrounds to make the most of their lives and opportunities.

Today he signs up for the most important match of his life, one which if he approaches with the determination and frankness that has marked his life to date will bring him even greater joy and sense of achievement than any of his sporting triumphs.

Belfast Telegraph

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