ESPN commentator Russell Barwick compared Ireland not joining Team GB to Tasmania not playing sport for Australia.

“It just makes no sense,” he said, genuinely bewildered. “We, the rest of the world, can’t understand. It’s like a Hawaiian surfer not claiming that he surfs for the USA.

“It’s not like Tasmanians say they don’t want to represent Australia. You’re all part of the one mix master.”

He then claimed that Ireland “kissed and made up” for the British Lions tour in rugby.

The Twitterstorm over Barwick’s ill-informed gaffe became so strong that the pundit closed his account.

The move prompted one user to respond: “Yeah, Russell Barwick you better hide. What a muppet, saying that Ireland should be part of Team GB. IDIOT!”

The controversy wrapped up a bad week for Aussie-Irish relations after Aussie newspaper group Fairfax Media published an astoundingly poor-taste article about Irish boxer Katie Taylor, who won gold in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The article, published in The Age, Brisbane Times and Sydney Morning Herald, appeared under the headline: “Punch Drunk: Ireland intoxicated as Taylor swings towards victory boxing gold.”

The startling opening then read:

“For centuries, Guinness and whiskey have sent the Irish off their heads. Now all it takes is a petite 26-year-old from Wicklow.

“Dark-haired, deep-eyed and engaging, Taylor is not what you’d expect in a fighting Irishwoman, nor is she surrounded by people who’d prefer a punch to a potato.”

The article was swiftly amended after the Irish ambassador to Australia wrote a letter of complaint.

Still, it’s not just the Aussies pissing off Ireland over the Olympics.

Great Britain’s own Daily Telegraph made a blunder when it described Katie Taylor as British. After yet more angry outbursts on Twitter, the paper said: “We’re sorry for mistakenly describing the fantastic boxer  Katie Taylor as British in our London 2012 section today. She is Irish, of course.”

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