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Excitement building as Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal set to host the Irish Open

The Irish Open is supported once again by the Rory Foundation, with host Rory McIlroy looking forward to the the star-studded Pro Am event. Picture by Justin Kernoghan/ PhotopressBelfast

SOME of the biggest names in golf will descend on the fairways in Donegal this week as the county welcomes the Irish Open tournament.

Excitement is building as the beautiful, breath-taking surroundings of Ballyliffin Golf Club will host the prestigious sporting event from July 5 to 8.

The spectacular links course will tomorrow see famous faces from the world of sport, music, television and film take to the fairways for the Pro Am.

The celebrity event takes place on the eve of the start of the Irish Open where world number three Jon Rahm will defend the title he won in record-breaking fashion at Portstewart last year.

Representing the sporting world in this year's Pro Am is former Republic of Ireland, Manchester City and Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given, while Donegal’s GAA football captain Michael Murphy will delight the home support just weeks after he led the county out in the Ulster Football Championship Final.

He will be joined by Kerry footballer Kieran Donaghy, former Ireland international rugby players Keith Wood and Stephen Ferris, while renowned jockey AP McCoy will also make an appearance.

Completing the sporting representation is ex-snooker world champion Dennis Taylor and Derry City football club players Paddy McCourt, Gerard Doherty and Rory Patterson.

Also taking part in the Pro Am is former Taoiseach Enda Kenny as well as professional dancer on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Anton du Beke. From the world of music, pop singers Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy with actor James Nesbitt completing the star-studded line-up.

The Irish Open is supported by the Rory Foundation, with host McIlroy looking forward to the the star-studded Pro Am event.

"Ballyliffin is a great golf course," he said.

"It’s always nice to be back home and play in front of the home crowd so I’m very much looking forward to playing the course and also having some fun at the Pro Am before the tournament kicks off."

Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, also said: "Rory McIlroy has, of course, also been instrumental in this success and we look forward very much to his hosting of this year’s tournament at Ballyliffin.

"Rory has given us the platform to build for the future and we are very excited at what we can achieve with the new era over the next four years."

Fans will also be treated to a festival of music as country star Nathan Carter headlines the 'Glashedy Sessions' event on Friday night and a host of exciting local bands will also entertain the crowds, including popular four-piece the Logues and regular favourites the Groove Robbers.

Tickets are on sale at

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