McIlroy bids farewell to Fota after failing to make cut
As he bade a sad farewell to Fota Island last night, Rory McIlroy expressed the fervent wish that the enthusiastic, noisy and excitable crowds which flocked to the Irish Open this week will get the home winner they deserve.
"The crowds at the Irish Open simply are the best of the year, they are so supportive," said McIlroy, clearly disappointed to have missed the halfway cut by one after a second-round 69 packed with thrills but too many spills to undo damage caused by Thursday's 74.
"Obviously being Irish and getting standing ovations on the greens, it's just so nice to be able to play in front of them," added the 25-year-old. "They don't just deserve an Irish winner this week, they deserve it every year."
McIlroy has had just two top-10 finishes in eight appearances at the Irish Open and yesterday endured his second missed cut in succession.
Yet a new era dawned in the relationship between the two-time Major champion and the public here when he declared his intention to keep faith with his career-long commitment to the Irish colours and represent this country at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
And with Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Gareth Maybin all within striking range of Finn Mikko Ilonen's lead through halfway, McIlroy's wish for a home-bred champion may indeed be granted.