Irish Open diary: Stars came out for yesterday's pro-am, while the main event begins today

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Jimmy Nesbitt and Jamie Dornan after Wednesday's pro-am

By Richard O'Reilly

David Howell's opening tee-shot on the first signalled the beginning of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The four day event offers a total prize fund of $7,000,000 and offers a late chance for pros to book a place in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale later in July.

However it would be remiss of me to ignore Wednesday's long day of celebrity spotting, while wrestling through the throngs of people for a chat with Jamie Dornan or Vernon Kay.  

As to why everyone was so concerned with Dornan, I've no idea, he must be a good golfer.  Either way, before heading out, he was happy enough to speak to Q Radio's Simon Hunter, who will now be able to sell his microphone for considerable profit.

Simon Hunter speaks to Jamie Dornan:

The Fall star was by no means the only star attraction.  He was joined by current Man City boss and multiple Champion's League winner Pep Guardiola.  Pep was paired up with his good friend,and Manchester United fan Rory McIlroy.

Champion Jockey A.P. McCoy looked at home on the north coast, as he joined Pep and McIlroy's group, with proceeds raised being donated to The Rory Foundation.  And McCoy said he's not too worried who wins the Irish Open, as long as it's an Irishman.

Richard O'Reilly speaks to champion jockey A.P. McCoy:

TV host and all-round 'dead on fella' Vernon Kay donned his flatcap to pair up with 2016 Masters champ Danny Willett and Northern Ireland goalkeeping legend Pat Jennings.  The Family Fortunes star and well known NFL fan even had time to chastise a spectator who blew her nose during his final put.  

In fairness to Vernon, he merely blew a raspberry at her, in the spirit of 'sure it's all a bit of craic'.

Richard O'Reilly Speaks to Vernon Kay:

Pat Jennings joined a huge Northern Irish contingent on the north coast, however he backed his playing partner Danny Willett to pick up the trophy this weekend.  

Simon Hunter Speaks to Pat Jennings:

Not to be outdone by his Northern Irish Counterparts, actor James Nesbitt took th the course with former US Open winner Justin Rose.  Jimmy remains a popular sight on the north coast, especially considering he grew up in Coleraine.  He's also a well Known benefactor of Coleraine Football Club aka the Bannsiders.

Richard O'Reilly speaks to James Nesbitt:

Last and certainly by no means least is Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill.  Fresh from being awarded an honorary degree from the Ulster University, along with his Republic of Ireland counterpart Martin, Michael teed off with Hideto Tanahara of Japan.  The Northern Ireland boss was impressed with Portstewart Golf Club, and says it should test the pros this week.

Simon Hunter Speaks to Michael O'Neill:


Pep Guardiola finishes up on the 18th Green

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