The Ultimate Guide To Team Ireland Ahead Of Tonight's Olympics Opening Ceremony

Bring on the gold!

Screen Shot 2016 08 04 At 14 16 53

It’s been a busy summer of sport, from the Euros to the Galway Races.

However, one of the biggest events is yet to come as the 2016 Olympics kicks off in Rio tonight.

Boxer Paddy Barnes will represent Ireland at the opening ceremony, carrying the tricolour alongside the likes of Rafael Nadal, Caroline Wozniacki and Michael Phelps. 

And if you're not already following him on Twitter, you're missing out.

With boxer Michael O'Reilly temporarily suspended pending the results of a doping investigation, there are 76 Irish athletes confirmed to compete across 14 disciplines in this year's games.

As Rio is four hours ahead of Ireland, the opening ceremony will begin at midnight and live coverage will begin on RTÉ Two from 11.30pm tonight.

Sunita Puspure will be the first Irish Olympian in action as she lines up for the women’s rowing single sculls at 12.30pm on Saturday afternoon.

Swimming, hockey and equestrian are just some of the sports that will feature over the coming days, with cyclist Nicolas Roche, gymnast Kieran Behan and boxer Stephen Donnelly among those taking part in the weekend’s events.

Several Irish athletes are in real contention for the winner's podium, with Katie Taylor and Michael Conlon recently tipped for gold medals by Sports Illustrated.

Iaba Katie Taylor

Five of the eight Irish boxers have received a bye in the initial stages of the games, with Taylor now through to the last eight in the women's lightweight 60kg division. 

She will take to the ring for the first time on Monday 15 August.

Conlon, Barnes and Ward will all progress straight to the last 16 in their respective divisions, as will O'Reilly if his current suspension is lifted.

RTÉ's coverage of Rio 2016 will begin at 9am daily with a 90-minute catch-up of the overnight action, followed by live coverage from 1pm each afternoon.

It's going to be an exciting few weeks!

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