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‘Irish Open an amazing sporting event for Mid-West’ – Paul O’Connell

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*Paul O’Connell. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Having The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Lahinch is the sporting event the Mid-West has needed according to former Irish rugby captain, Paul O’Connell.

O’Connell was one of the several guests taking part in Wednesday’s Pro-Am and admitted to being very impressed with the organisation in Lahinch. “It’s amazing and for the whole Mid-West, there is a massive buzz, it’s great to see sporting events come down this side of the country.

“When I heard Paul McGinley was going to try bring it down, I wondered logistically how they were going to do it but they are obviously very experienced in running events like this in small towns, they’ve put in the stands and it’s pretty amazing. It’s great for the whole community, we’re coming here for a long time, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to enjoy the week here”.

In March, the 2009 Grand Slam winner departed his coaching role with Stade Francais and confirmed in Lahinch that he had aspirations of returning to coaching but was anxious to build up more experience first. “I enjoy being part of a team, the hours are massively long in coaching, I knew that was coming. It was a shock to the system even though I knew it was coming, it takes a bit of getting used to especially when you’ve family as well. I enjoyed it, it is something I would like to continue with”.

Galway hurler, Joe Canning was also praiseworthy in his views of the views at Lahinch. “It’s brilliant, I’m only an hour away, it’s great for this side of the country and you have to compliment the people of Lahinch and Clare for what they have turned out here, it’s fabulous and one they can be really proud of”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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