Irish sports stars react to Rory McIlroy's decision to withdraw from the Olympics

A number of other athletes who will represent Ireland are not please with McIlroy's decision to pull out of the Olympics

Rory McIlroy, Ireland, Olympics,

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

On Wednesday morning, Rory McIlroy announced that he would not be heading to Rio de Janeiro to represent Ireland in the Olympics. 

The world number four said in a statement that after giving the matter much thought and deliberation, "I've come to realize that my health and my family's health comes before anything else. Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take."

The reaction to the decision has been mixed, with a number of athletes who have qualified for the Games stating that the move was not a wise one. Boxer Darren O'Neill took to Twitter to say "I have cried tears & spilled blood in trying to qualify for Rio. This affirms my opinions. We are better [without] him!". 

Similarly, modern pentathlete Natalya Coyle, who recently qualified, also tweeted her disbelief at the decision, saying "Seriously? It's the ultimate honor to represent your country at Olympics & we've top medical staff looking after us."

Her fellow pentathlon star Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe was also surprised, saying "really? After all that fuss?".

A number of journalists and golf pundits have also weighed in on the decision, with some suggesting that his initial hesitance to get involved in the Olympics at all may have played a factor in the move.

McIlroy is not the only one skipping the Games however, as pointed out by By The Minute Golf, who highlight that he joins a long, and possibly growing list of pros who have turned down the chance to attend. 

Outside the sporting world, TV3's Peter O'Riordan also shared his thought on it, while other sports fans have also been debating the move since it was announced.