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Watch: Rory McIlroy reveals what he needs to do to get into contention at the Irish Open while Paul Dunne discusses his wild driver and Michael Hoey knows there is no room for error

We spoke to the Irish hopefuls in the afternoon section

By Gareth Hanna

Rory McIlroy says he will have to shoot three rounds in the mid-60s to get into contention at the Irish Open.

The defending champion faces a battle to make the halfway cut after labouring to a level-par 72 in the first round on Thursday.

He says he felt like he "hit the ball well" and hit good putts but either the line or the pace just foiled him on too many occasions. That added up to a disappointing level par opening round. And with the cut currently sitting at -2 - he has it all to do.

Making the cut, of course, is not what he's here to do. So to end up on top, he says he will have to go low the next three days to make up lost ground. Watch his full interview below:

Rory McIlroy reflects on his level par round one at the Irish Open and what he needs to do to get into contention on...

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Thursday, July 6, 2017

Meanwhile, Paul Dunne carded an afternoon 67 to join Graeme McDowell as the leading local hope, three back of the leader Daniel Im (USA). He didn't hit a single fairway on the back nine but was all but flawless from there on to rescue an impressive score. He told us why he was able to get away with a few wild tee shots:

Paul Dunne explains just how he kept his cool to shoot -5 despite not hitting a single fairway on the back nine.

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Thursday, July 6, 2017

Finally, Belfast's Michael Hoey is well on course to make it to the weekend with an opening 68. He reflected on a "relaxing" day back on the European Tour but said he's not getting ahead of himself just yet:

Belfast's Michael Hoey is -4 after round one. He's not get carried away though...

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Thursday, July 6, 2017

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