| 12.8°C Belfast

Lough Erne Golf Challenge: Brolly good show by stars McIlroy, Clarke and Harrington

Close

Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy at the 18th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge.

Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy at the 18th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge.

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Darren Clarke signs autographs for Ellie and Lewis McCartny

Darren Clarke signs autographs for Ellie and Lewis McCartny

Rory McIlroy signs autographs

Rory McIlroy signs autographs

Rory McIlroy on the 4th green

Rory McIlroy on the 4th green

Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Padraig harrington and Shane Lowry braved the pouring rain to take part in the 2nd Lough Erne Golf Challenge outside Enniskillen

Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Padraig harrington and Shane Lowry braved the pouring rain to take part in the 2nd Lough Erne Golf Challenge outside Enniskillen

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke on the 1st tee box

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke on the 1st tee box

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy on the 4th hole

Rory McIlroy on the 4th hole

Rory McIlroy on the 3rd green

Rory McIlroy on the 3rd green

After winning the game Rory McIlroy throws his ball into the crowd at the 18th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

After winning the game Rory McIlroy throws his ball into the crowd at the 18th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy on the 4th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy on the 4th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Padraig Harrington watches as Rory McIlroy tees off on the 3rd hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Padraig Harrington watches as Rory McIlroy tees off on the 3rd hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy at the 18th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy at the 18th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Darren Clarke's girlfriend Alison Campbell watching the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Darren Clarke's girlfriend Alison Campbell watching the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy after winning at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy after winning at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Rory battles with the pouring rain on the 1st hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Rory battles with the pouring rain on the 1st hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Hundreds of die hard fans braved the pouring rain at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Hundreds of die hard fans braved the pouring rain at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Pat Jennings enjoying the golf at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Pat Jennings enjoying the golf at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Padraig Harrington during the Lough Erne Challenge in Co Fermanagh

Padraig Harrington during the Lough Erne Challenge in Co Fermanagh

Paul Faith

Shane, Rory and Darren on the 1st hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Shane, Rory and Darren on the 1st hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Rory McIlroy watches as Padriag Harrington birdies the 5th hole  at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

Rory McIlroy watches as Padriag Harrington birdies the 5th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

James Nesbitt enjoying the golf at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

James Nesbitt enjoying the golf at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy at the 18th hole at the Lough Erne Golf Challenge.

“Severe weather warning in place”. Not exactly what anyone wants to hear on Radio Ulster on their way to a golf course as exposed to the elements as the Lough Erne Resort.

But it was always going to take more than a drop of rain to keep the paying public away from Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke as they took on Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry with the honour of Northern Ireland at stake.

The crowds were significantly down on last year's inaugural event when McIlroy beat Harrington in a singles affair. But Joey McPartland, from Dromore in Co Down, was determined to enjoy her day out. “We won tickets to come in a competition in the local paper,” she said. “But we had already bought tickets because we wanted to see Rory and Darren playing.”

Clarke's girlfriend Alison Campbell dutifully tramped round all 18 holes in support. “It's not great when it's like this, but it's lovely to be able to come out and support Darren and Rory, although they don't seem to need it,” the former Miss Northern Ireland said.

Clarke's mother Hettie was more worried that her son played all 18 holes, despite the wintry conditions, with nothing more than a sun visor for protection.

Yesterday was former Northern Ireland, Arsenal and Spurs goalkeeping great Pat Jennings' first time at the resort.

“It's just magnificent, he said. “It reminds me very much of Loch Lomond, a place I love. I haven't had the chance to get playing here yet, but after walking around and seeing it today I'll be making sure I get a round in soon.”

Not everyone who stayed to the bitter end was so enthralled. Seven-year-old Damian Quinn looked about ready to call it a day as the match reached the 15th, despite the McDonald’s he'd been promised by his dad for coming.

“We actually live down there,” said Damian snr, pointing to a house right by the 15th tee-box. “We moved here a few months ago and we've already found plenty of golf balls in the back garden. This is such a beautiful course, it's lovely to be in this part of the country — apart from the weather, that is.”

Background

The Faldo Championship Course at Lough Erne Resort (7,167 yards, Par 72) was designed by six-time Major winner Nick Faldo and is his first golf course design in Ireland.

It is part of a 10-year, £30m development which opened in 2009, and was the brainchild of supermarket tycoon Jim Treacy.

The Faldo course is considered one of the top 100 in the world by many golf experts. It provides golfers with superb year-round playing conditions as well as breathtaking views of The Fermanagh Lakelands.

In Sport: Lough Erne: Rory McIlroy shines in Northern Ireland dream team

Belfast Telegraph