Captain Barnes ready to carry the flag

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Paddy Barnes will proudly lead out Team Ireland at what is expected to be a spectacular Opening Ceremony for the 2016 Olympics in Rio tonight.

TThe double Olympic bronze medalist, entering his third Games, is Irish flag bearer for the Parade of Nations at the host city for the 31st Olympiad.

A TV audience of three billion are expected to watch the ceremony.

Barnes is the sevent Irish boxer after Matt Flanagan in 1928 – and the second successive Irish fighter after Katie Taylor at London 2012 – to perform the honours.

Live coverage of the ceremony begins at 11.30pm (Irish time) on RTÉ 2 tonight.

The opening ceremony will be held at the famed Maracana football stadium where just under 11,000 athletes will take part in the celebrations to mark the official start of the Games.

Belfast’s Barned is incredibly honoured to be Irish flag bearer. and admits that “It’s an amazing feeling to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games and I’ve been lucky enough to experience it twice before.”

“Going to my third Olympic Games as the flag bearer for Team Ireland now is just an incredible honour.”

“I will be going for gold in Rio in the ring, but I will also have the responsibility of helping to build a really positive environment for all Irish athletes,” added the Holy Family BC.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: