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Olympic boxing champion Paddy Barnes is fully behind Rory McIlroy... now

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland’s Olympic boxing hero Paddy Barnes has revealed that he now wants Rory McIlroy to win gold in Rio next year and will wish the Holywood golfer well if they meet up at the 2016 Games.

The comments come 11 months after two-time Olympic bronze medallist Barnes hit out at McIlroy when he declared he wanted to represent Ireland in Brazil rather than Team GB.

Barnes was angry that McIlroy had taken time to make up his mind, tweeting: “The reason I don’t like McIlroy representing Ireland at the Olympics is because he doubted going for Ireland, you should be proud to!”

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, however, the Belfast man, who will be on the same Ireland team as McIlroy, softened his stance on the world number one golfer.

Barnes said: “Rory McIlroy’s his own man and can do what he likes. I gave my opinion at the time, but who am I to question him? I have nothing against him and he probably doesn’t even know me.

“If I see him in Rio I’d go up to him and shake his hand and wish him all the best. If he is in my team I’m going to support him 100% and I want to see him win a gold medal. The more we can win the better.”

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