Northern Ireland

Rio 2016: Michael Conlan offered medal by Dublin boy, Finn McManus

Meadhbh's photo of Finn McManus' medal and letter to Michael Conlan Image copyright Meadhbh McManus
Image caption Finn got help from his big sister Lily to send a letter to his boxing hero

Belfast boxer Michael Conlan may not have won an Olympic medal after his controversial defeat in Rio but to one young boxing fan, he is still a winner.

A five-year-old County Dublin boy has sent a touching letter to his hero, offering him a consolation prize.

Finn McManus told a devastated Conlan: "I want you to have my school medal because you are a winner."

Conlon responded on Twitter, describing it as a "very warming message". He also promised a gift for his young fan.

Finn's message to the Olympian has been impressing disappointed Irish boxing fans after it was widely shared on Facebook.

'Social media storm'

The boy's mother, Meadhbh McManus, told BBC News NI that she has been "overwhelmed" by both the response of the public and the boxer himself.

She said it was "wonderful that he acknowledged" her son's letter while having to deal with his own disappointment in Rio.

Image caption Michael Conlan tweeted that he has a gift for Finn McManus

She added that the boxer's offer of a gift for the boy was "really, really kind".

Finn won his own medal during a sports day at his play school near their family home in Swords.

After watching Conlon's defeat on Tuesday, Finn asked his mother if he could donate his medal to him, and got his big sister, nine-year-old Lily, to write the letter on his behalf.

Their mother then sent a photo of Finn's medal and Lily's handwritten letter by private message to Michael Conlan on Facebook.

However, she said a "social media storm" began after her brother shared her message on Twitter.

She had not expected so much reaction but added that Finn would be delighted when she tells him that his "idol" has responded to his letter.

Conlan was the Irish boxing team's last hope for an Olympic medal after a dismal Games in Rio.

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Media captionMichael Conlan makes his feelings clear after his controversial defeat

The team has been reeling from shock defeats for 2012 lightweight boxing champion Katie Taylor and 2012 bronze medallist Paddy Barnes.

Bantamweight boxer Conlan lost the quarter-final bout by unanimous decision, but five-year-old Finn disagreed with the judges.

"I saw your fight in Rio and you should have won because you are the best boxer in the world", he wrote to Conlan.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Michael Conlan had high hopes for Rio 2016 after he was crowned Ireland's first men's bantamweight world champion in 2015

Finn's aunt, Marie Kirk, told BBC News NI that Finn was "really upset" after watching the fight on television on Tuesday afternoon.

"He's mad into the Olympics and especially the boxing," Marie said.

She added her nephew, who turned five last week, asked for boxing gear for his birthday present.

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