“That pride is something wonderful. It’s because we’re such a small place, population-wise, and because we’ve been through so much.”
Ironically, on the very day he returned to Northern Ireland with the US Open trophy in hand, East Belfast witnessed some of the worst rioting seen in years as Loyalist thugs laid siege to the Catholic enclave of Short Strand.
“I know that 99.9% of the population doesn’t want to see that,” said McIlroy when asked about the sectarian riots.
“Everyone just wants to live in peaceful times. I am aware that I’m going to be portrayed as a role model. I have to be very careful in what I say and do.”