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Ireland's rooting for Rory McIlroy home win at the Irish Open 2013

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What better location than the heart of a sporting county like Kildare to prove his ability as possibly the finest golfer this country has ever produced?

And what better way to change the topic of all upcoming Rory McIlroy debates than by winning a championship that has been beyond him for several years now.

McIlroy spoke of winning the Irish Open at Royal Portrush in his native Northern Ireland last year but didn’t. He threatened to win it in Killarney a year earlier and didn’t.

He can win and he can win big. We know that from the U.S. Open and the USPGA, two of the biggest tournaments in world golf.

So let’s see him win on home soil. Let’s see him shut the critics and the doubters up. Let’s see him change the subject to a happy story.

We’ll still be talking about him on Sunday night, even if he wins. But as someone in the PR industry once said, it’s better to be talked about as opposed to not talked about.

And better still to be talked about as an Irish winner in Ireland. How about it Rory?

Sideline Views

SOCCER:

The civil protests in Brazil have to be a worry for the World Cup organizers ahead of next summer’s tournament as the public complain about the huge cost involved with staging FIFA’s showcase two years before the Olympics. The locals have a point, but some of the football on display at the current Confederations Cup has been a joy to watch, and clearly the teams involved have been inspired by the surroundings. Hopefully a sign of things to come next summer.

RUGBY:

Spare a thought for Paul O’Connell and salute his bravery. The giant Limerick man broke his arm in the Lions win over Australia on Saturday, but didn’t even complain until the first test was over. He even contested a scrum with his arm broken. Sadly, O’Connell’s career as a Lions player is now over, but he will be remembered as one of the greats. And one of the bravest.

SOCCER:

Some media outlets hailed the latest “Battle of Britain” contest when the Champions League draw threw Celtic in against Belfast’s Cliftonville next month. I think the supporters of both clubs might have something to say about the British tag if you see where I’m coming from!

TENNIS:

Wimbledon is back and I really don’t care much, but even I know Rafa Nadal’s defeat to Belgian Steve Darcis on Monday was big news. I wonder did it spoil the cucumber sandwiches and the Pimms for those watching from the corporate boxes in South London.

GAA:

Nice to see Paul McGinley enjoying some Ulster SFC action last weekend with his dad Michael, a Donegal native. I just wonder who the Ryder Cup captain will shout for if Dublin get to meet Donegal down the line in this year’s All-Ireland championship. Dublin, I suspect.

CYCLING:

The Tour de France gets underway this weekend, and we have two real live Irish contenders in Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche, cousins as it happens. Roche’s dad Stephen reckons Dan is a potential Tour winner, and that’s high enough recommendation for me.

SOCCER: The rumor mill is hopping with stories of Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United and Gareth Bale’s move from Spurs to Real Madrid to replace him. The sooner the transfer window closes the better. And that’s still weeks away.

HEROES OF THE WEEK

NOBODY really gave Dublin a chance going into the Leinster SHC semifinal against Kilkenny last Sunday, so to lead by a point inside added time was quite a feat. Okay, so they conceded a last gasp equalizer to TJ Reid, but Dublin rocked Kilkenny with their performance and can complete the job in Portlaoise this Saturday. If they do, it will be one of the biggest shocks in the history of hurling.

IDIOT OF THE WEEK

BRIGHTON Football Club sacked manager Gus Poyet on Sunday night – as he was live on British television, working as a pundit for the BBC on the Confederations Cup tournament in Brazil. It made for great television as Poyet learned of his dismissal in the same manner as the rest of us, but surely the Uruguayan deserved better.

COMMENTS

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