'I'm going to support Rory 100pc' – Boxer Paddy Barnes changes stance on McIlroy's Olympic decision
Irish Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes has said that he will fully support Rory McIlroy at next year's Games in Rio despite previously stating the golfer should not represent Ireland.
Barnes was highly critical of the world number one golfer last year when he opted to declare for Ireland rather than Team Great Britain.
"The reason I don't like McIlroy representing Ireland at the Olympics is because he doubted going for Ireland, you should be proud to!," he posted on his Twitter account last year.
"Ireland's golf team should be- Shane Lowry, Graham McDowell and Padraig Harrington!"
"2 years to the Olympics and already we know who the Flag Bearer is......Rory McIlroy...."
However Barnes, who collected bronze at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, he said he is now more than happy to support McIlroy at the Olympic Games.
"Rory McIlroy's his own man and can do what he likes," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "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 100pc and I want to see him win a gold medal. The more we can win the better," adds Paddy, who before Rio will make a trip to London and Buckingham Palace this year to collect the MBE he was awarded in the New Year honours list.