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Friday photos from the Irish Open

IT’S Day 2 of the Irish Open and huge crowds are again in Lahinch to see some of golf’s top stars. Clare Champion photographer John Kelly is on hand to capture images of one of the year’s top sporting events. At the time of writing (just before 4pm) Zander Lombard and Eddie Pepperell are the leaders, both on -8.  

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Collins Focused On Performance Ahead Of Super 8 Bid

A place in the Super Eight series of the All-Ireland senior football championship is the prize on offer for Clare when they take on Meath this weekend in the final round of qualifiers. The Banner booked their spot in Round Four after a gritty one point win over Westmeath in Mullingar, and now face a fourth showdown with the Royals since 2017. The Leinster outfit have held the upper hand in clashes between the two counties in the National League, coming out on top in all three of their showdowns in Division Two, including this season when they were 1-12 to 1-7 winners in Cusack Park. Meath come into the game off the back of a 16 point loss to Dublin in the Leinster final, while manager Andy McEntee’s alleged row with a local journalist in the aftermath of the defeat made national headlines. Clare boss Colm Collins feels it was always going to be a huge test no matter …

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Harrington Leads At 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Padraig Harrington is the early leader at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch Golf Club He holds a one shot lead on 7 under par and finished with a birdie on the 18th to set a new course record of 63. Shane Lowry is right in the mix for a second title after a strong opening round. The Clara native shot a first round total of 66 to see him finish on 4 under par in beautiful conditions at the North Clare course, with his playing partners Russell Knox and Tommy Fleetwood a shot further back. A group of  players on 5 under par held the early lead, while Martin Kaymer was among those to finish on 4 under along with Lowry. The huge crowd that descended on Lahinch were spoiled with glorious sunshine across the day.      

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This Sporting Life

Last weekend saw the GAA announce a shake up to the structures of the All-Ireland club championships, with the finals moved from their traditional St Patrick’s Day slot. January will now see the club season come to an end, with the GAA head honchos citing the fact that counties were being forced to fulfil league games without some of their top club players. The irony of the fact that club teams are forced to fulfil their league games without their top county players was not lost, but that can be a matter for another day. The other potential change comes in relation to the All Ireland football championship, with two proposals being mooted to revamp the structures and the introduction of a Tier Two. Proposal A would retain the provincial championships as presently organised with the current four rounds of All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers reducing to two rounds and only open to teams from that year’s Allianz Football League Divisions 1 …

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Lahinch Basks In Sunshine On Opening Day Of Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Suncream is the order of the day as the opening rounds of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open get underway at Lahinch. Huge crowds descended on the famous North Clare links from early morning, with the trio of Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood and defending champion Russell Knox attracting the majority of those out on the course. Other groups which proved popular with the crowd were Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Thorbjorn Olsen, while in the afternoon, there will a lot of attention on new Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington who plays alongside Ian Poulter and Tyrell Hatton. Organisers are confident that the attendance for this year’s event will break the 100,000 barrier with the weekend rounds all but sold out at this stage while the grandstand tickets have been snapped up long before now.

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Rahm Takes Irish Open Pro-Am Victory At Lahinch Golf Club

Former Irish Open champion Jon Rahm led his team to victory in the Pro-Am ahead of the 2019 tournament at Lahinch Golf Club. The Spaniard’s team finished on a total of 37 under par, two shots clear of the nearest competitors. He was playing alongside Tom Coughlan, Geoff Morton and Mike Higgins. Glorious sunshine welcomed the players for today’s event while fans flocked in near record numbers as anticipation builds ahead of tomorrow’s opening round. Among the other stars to take to the course today were Clare All-Ireland winners Shane O’Donnell and Davy Fitzgerald.  

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Rahm And Poulter Eye Up Irish Open Title Bid

Former champion Jon Rahm is among those hoping to be crowned the winner of this year’s Irish Open at Lahinch as he bids to follow up on his 6 stroke victory in 2017. The Spaniard comes into the event in a strong run of form, including when finishing joint third at this year’s US Open at Pebble Beach. He has been impressed with what he has seen of Lahinch so far. “It has really lived up to its expectations. Every time we come to Ireland we know what we are going to get. I believe Irish golf is just a little bit different and it is to my taste. Aesthetically it is a little more beautiful, there is a little more movement and is it not just flat and I think it is just a little bit more enjoyable for me. Lahinch is definitely a very different golf course. You don’t get too many that have kept holes from the …

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McDowell Looking Forward To Special Atmosphere In Lahinch For Irish Open

One of the home favourites for the 2019 Irish Open title is expecting a special week in Lahinch for the 2019 Irish Open. Graeme McDowell is back on familiar territory, as he bids to add the Irish Open title to the South of Ireland championship he won as an amateur in 2000. “It is my first time back here, I think, in 18 years. Certainly don’t remember the golf course very well. I’ve got to be honest. My memories are pretty minimal. Match-play back in those days, and some days you’d play 12 holes and other days you played a few more holes than that. Some years you came down and lost in the first round, other years you played better, but I always have great memories of the South of Ireland. I don’t remember the golf course being so good to be honest with you. I really enjoyed it this morning. The golf course is very mixed. The front …

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