Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy pay tribute to 'hero' William Dunlop

The tragic death of motorcycling star William Dunlop has cast a long shadow across the sporting world.

The son of the late Robert and nephew of the legendary Joey, William died following a crash at the Skerries 100 on Saturday afternoon.

And speaking after their final rounds of the Irish Open golf tournament at Balllyliffin in County Donegal, the thoughts of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy were very much with the Dunlop family circle.

"I never had a chance to meet him but I know the family," said Portrush native McDowell. "Growing up in that part of the world, the North West 200 was always in my blood and the Dunlop family were some of our heroes.

"It's a tragic situation. He's got a young wife and kids - one on the way.

"It's such a dangerous sport. I watched the documentary 'Road'; they stand in front of the camera and they know the dangers that face them out there but it's in their blood and it's what they love to do.

"These guys are unbelievably brave, brave people and the Dunlop family were heroes of mine growing up. They still are.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family."

McIlroy agreed: "What that family has been through over the last few years is horrendous. You wouldn't wish that on anyone. Everyone's thoughts are with them now. It's a very sad loss."

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