Paul McGinley to lead Irish golf team at Rio Olympics in 2016

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Paul McGinley led Europe to Ryder Cup success over USA at Gleneagles in September.

Winning Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley is set to join up again with world number one Rory McIlroy as Ireland golf team leader at Rio 2016.

McGinley was among the team leaders announced by the Olympic Council of Ireland on Thursday morning.

Holywood player McIlroy, who starred in Europe's win over the US in September, has opted to represent Ireland instead of Great Britain in the Olympic Games.

McIlroy praised McGinley's leadership after the victory at Gleneagles.

"He has just been the most wonderful captain," said the four-times major winner.

"I think I speak on behalf of all the 12 players and say he couldn't have done anything else. He was fantastic.

Golf at the 2016 Rio Olympics
In both the men's and women's event, the top 15 world-ranked players will be eligible for selection, regardless of the number of players from a given country
Outside the top 15, players will be eligible based on world ranking with a maximum of two players from each country.
The competition will follow a 72-hole individual stroke-play format and, in the event of a tie for either first, second or third place, a three-hole play-off will determine the medal winners.

"From the first day we got here, the speeches that he gave, the videos he showed us, the people that he got in to talk to us, the imagery in the team room, it all tied in together.

"It was all part of the plan, all for the cause of trying to win this Ryder Cup, and he was meticulous in his planning. He left no stone unturned."

McGinley is looking forward to his role in charge of the men's and women's teams in Rio.

"It was a great honour for me over the last two years to represent Europe as Captain and I am now delighted to have the opportunity to assist my country," he said.

"It's probably the largest sporting event in the world and it will be a great platform for us to showcase the game of golf."

McIlroy is eligible to play for Ireland or Great Britain and at one stage said he might not participate to avoid offending anyone.

However, he ended speculation in June by announcing that he intends to play for Ireland.

"It's a decision I feel comfortable with and I'll be proud to represent Ireland in 2016," added McIlroy.

"I'm 100% sure it's the right decision for me and I hope people respect my decision."

The list of team leaders includes three from Northern Ireland - Brian Nugent (cycling), Ciaran Ward (judo) and Jeff McCready (shooting).

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