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Paul McGinley to lead Irish golf team charge at Rio Olympics in 2016
Victorious Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley is once again set to join forces with World No.1 Rory McIlroy as he agrees to lead the charge as Ireland golf team leader at Rio 2016.
McGinley was one of the team leaders announced by the Olympic Council of Ireland on Thursday morning; an honour he was quick to accept.
The decision comes on the heels of McIlroy opting to represent Ireland instead of Great Britain in the Olympic Games. The Nike golfer was born in Holywood so it comes as little surprise to see him plump for Ireland.
McIlroy was one of the players to heap praise on McGinley’s excellent leadership after their victory at Gleneagles, saying: "He has just been the most wonderful captain. < p>
"I think I speak on behalf of all the 12 players and say he couldn't have done anything else. He was fantastic.
"From the first day we got here, the speeches that he gave, the videos he showed us, the people that he got in to talk to us, the imagery in the team room, it all tied in together.
"It was all part of the plan, all for the cause of trying to win this Ryder Cup, and he was meticulous in his planning. He left no stone unturned."
However, the Rio Olympics, which welcomes golf back into its fold for the first time since 1994, will be an entirely different challenge for McGinley, albeit one he is eagerly looking forward to.
McGinley will be busy in his role as he takes charge of both the men’s and women’s teams in Brazil.
"It was a great honour for me over the last two years to represent Europe as Captain and I am now delighted to have the opportunity to assist my country," he is quoted as saying on BBC Sport. "It's probably the largest sporting event in the world and it will be a great platform for us to showcase the game of golf."
McIlroy is eligible to play for either Ireland or Great Britain and at one stage declared he might not participate in the event at all to avoid offending either camp. However, McIlroy ended speculation over what he wanted to do in June, announcing that he intended to play for Ireland.
"It's a decision I feel comfortable with and I'll be proud to represent Ireland in 2016," he said.
"I'm 100% sure it's the right decision for me and I hope people respect my decision."