Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 29 March 2015

Joe Kernan: The lessons everyone can learn from Rory McIlroy’s sporting genius

US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
©Russell Pritchard / Presseye 22nd June 2011US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy back at Hollywood Golf Club, Belfast©Russell Pritchard / Presseye
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy back at Hollywood Golf Club. Rory with his nephew Fergus
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland 2011 - 22nd June Picture by Jonathan Porter/ PressEye.com - US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club outside Belfast. Fans pictured at the club.
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club outside Belfast. Rory's father Gerry pictured at the club
US Open Champion 2011 Rory McIlroy returns to Hollywood Golf Club outside Belfast. Rory's former girlfriend Holly pictured at the club
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 22: US Open winning golfer Rory McIlroy is showered with champagne by club members as he stands with his trophy at Holywood Gold Club on June 22, 2011 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The 22 year old golfer has returned home to his native Northern Ireland and is giving press interviews and meeting with local supporters. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down
US Open champion Rory McIlroy returns home to Holywood Golf Club, Co. Down

Every team which has flirted with success without quite getting its hands on the prize that really matters now has the perfect role model from whom it can derive inspiration.



In winning the US Open, Rory McIlroy unwittingly lit a torch for all GAA teams and players who harbour ambitions of glory.

And yet it was not because he lifted one of the most coveted prizes in world sport that Rory championed the cause of the underdog.

Rather, it was because he learned so much from losing that he emerged as the most convincing victor in golf’s most elite event.

His sporting genius is all the more admirable because it is accompanied by obvious warmth, dignity, humility and appreciation for what was done for him in his formative years.

Hunger has driven him to the very top — just as it can transport all teams who have self-belief, commitment and a willingness to absorb harsh lessons to a higher plateau.

Seldom have I heard such sincere, glowing accolades accorded to a young sportsman as those which were lavished on Rory earlier this week.

His feat — and there will be many more to come, of that I am sure — underlines what can be achieved by utter dedication, self-sacrifice and an ability to digest setbacks with equanimity.

Over the course of the next three months the All Ireland championships in both football and hurling will build up to a climax.

It is my fervent hope that the teams which reach the respective finals will embody the excellent attributes which Rory McIlroy has epitomised so graciously.

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