McIlroy and McDowell left to fly Irish flag after Clarke misses cut

There will be no Darren Clarke or Padraig Harrington for the huge crowds to cheer on in the final two rounds of the Irish Open here, but Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell plan to fill the void.

McIlroy, not backing down in the slightest in his Twitter row with former European Tour player Jay Townsend, grabbed three late birdies for a second-round 68 yesterday.

When asked about Townsend's "spoilt brat" remark, McIlroy responded yesterday: "Well, I'm an only child – if that means I'm spoilt I don't know. Everybody's got their own opinion and you just to have to take it with a pinch of salt."

Meanwhile, fellow Ulsterman McDowell went two better than McIlroy to put both of them on four under par at halfway. But that is six behind German Marcel Siem, who late in the day eagled the long 16th and sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the next to move one ahead of Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Dane Soren Hansen.

For Clarke and Harrington, though, the end had come by lunchtime. In his first start since his dream Open Championship victory at Sandwich earlier this month, 42-year-old Clarke dropped four shots in the last eight holes for a 74 and one-over aggregate.

Three-time major winner Harrington had little hope after double-bogeying the short sixth and with a 72 crashed out on three over par. That is now back-to-back missed cuts for the Dubliner before he returns to America and, already down to 64th place in the world rankings, he is likely to fall even further now.

"It's disappointing, but it's only a game," stated Harrington. "There's no doubt that changes are required – for the sake of it rather than anything else. I'm doing everything I would have done when I was winning majors, it's just something fresh is needed. You need a bit of spark somewhere. Even on my worst days I'm not too bad. It's not like I'm shooting 77-78 sort of thing, but momentum is an important thing and I don't have it at the moment.

"I'm not thinking of changing personnel. I've got to change something in myself, attitude or something along the lines of that. I'm not taking time off – I like playing golf."

Clarke admitted his mental energy levels were down after a bout of flu followed his post-Open celebrations. "I just couldn't get anything going," he commented. "A weekend off is not what I wanted. It probably won't do me any harm, albeit I would much prefer to be here to play.

"A couple of things went my way over at Sandwich and here bounces went the other way. Payback time I suppose. I didn't have much time off after the Open, but that's no excuse for shooting 74."

Singh led by two after an opening 63 that matched the lowest round of his career and, given he hit a wild opening drive beside Lough Leane, he settled for adding a 70. But that allowed ex-Ryder Cup man Hansen to catch him with a 66, while defending champion Ross Fisher and fellow Englishmen Simon Dyson and Simon Wakefield are among those on seven under and Irish amateur Paul Cutler stands six under after a 67.

Selected Scores

European Tour Irish Open, Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, Killarney, Co Kerry, Ireland: Early second round scores (GB & Irl unless stated, par 71; *=amateur): 133 J M Singh (India) 63 70; 135 R Jacquelin (Fr) 67 68; S Wakefield 69 66; 136 C Del Moral (Sp) 69 67; D McGrane 69 67; P Cutler* 69 67; 137 R Ramsay 68 69; L Gagli (It) 68 69; 138 F Aguilar (Chile) 68 70; T Olesen (Den) 69 69; J Donaldson 70 68; M Brier (Aut) 70 68; 139 R Bland 70 69; N Fasth (Swe) 69 70; J Morrison 71 68; 140 R Jan Derksen (Neth) 71 69; S Kapur (India) 71 69; A Canizares (Sp) 67 73; J Van Zyl (SA) 70 70; A Kaleka (Fr) 65 75; 141 P Whiteford 70 71; R Dinwiddie 70 71; K Ferrie 72 69; O Fisher 68 73; L Saltman 67 74; D Drysdale 71 70; J Sjoholm (Swe) 69 72; K Horne (SA) 70 71; T Goya (Arg) 71 70; 142 S Manley 71 71; D Willett 72 70; D Higgins 71 71; V Dubuisson (Fr) 73 69; P McGinley 70 72; 143 M Campbell (NZ) 66 77; S Pinckney (US) 73 70; D Clarke 69 74; R McGowan 68 75; 144 G Murphy 73 71; T Sluiter (Neth) 75 69; J Zapata (Arg) 72 72; B Dredge 71 73; 145 C Wood 75 70; G Maybin 74 71; P Price 72 73; M Korhonen (Fin) 72 73; G Bourdy (Fr) 72 73; P Harrington 73 72; 146 L Bond 74 72; S Norris (SA) 70 76; R Karlberg (Swe) 76 70; S Jamieson 72 74; S Benson 71 75; 147 R Finch 71 76; R McEvoy 71 76; A Harto (Den) 73 74; 148 D Mooney 74 74; N Kearney 73 75; S S P Chowrasia (India) 73 75; 149 N Dougherty 75 74; D McElroy 72 77; 150 D Mortimer 78 72; 151 N Fox 74 77; 152 E Brady 77 75; S Lowry 74 78; 153 D Carter 78 75; S Hend (Aus) 78 75. DQ: B Trainor. RTD: J-B Gonnet (Fr).

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015