On McIlroy: “Let me rephrase that . . . Can I . . . actually I’ll just repeat the question”

I’ve little time for the circular arguments that still go on around Rory McIlroy’s sense of his own nationality. For some people, it seems, he is allowed any nationality he wants as long as it is one shade of green or another. But the boy has spoken on the subject. Dion Fanning puts it perfectly:

Those who still act as if there is a meaningful debate sound like Alan Partridge when he meets Tony Hayers to discuss a second series. Alan is given every indication that he won’t get a second series when he asks directly and says, , have I got a second series?”

They are as deep in denial as Partridge and close to doing the sporting equivalent of shrieking “smell my cheese, you mother” and running through the BBC canteen.

Last week on RTE, they again referred to McIlroy as ‘Irish’ when, in his latest interview on the subject, he had pointed out that he considers himself Northern Irish.

“If I could and there was a Northern Irish team, then I’d play for Northern Ireland. I feel Northern Irish, and obviously you have a connection to Ireland and to the UK.”

This seems to be a difficult one for some to grasp. We rightly condemn the abuse a player like James McClean receives when he declares for Ireland and is tormented by bigots in the North but it is harder for us to allow McIlroy to have his position.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty