By Brian Keogh

Darren Clarke reckons Padraig Harrington launched Ireland's amazing tournament winning streak.

Now he's hoping to build on his own Shanghai success by blasting his way to a sixth Ryder Cup cap with victory at Adare Manor

Reflecting on Harrington's win last year and his march to Major glory at Carnoustie, Clarke said: "Padraig winning and then going on to win The Open was a massive boost for golf in Ireland.

"And then in recent weeks we have had the four winners and I think a lot of that is due to what Padraig did last year. We will be looking for another Irish winner this week. It's a fantastic time for Irish golf.

"I think Graeme's win in Korea kicked it all off and Damien's win, and Peter and myself to a certain degree, and I think that seeing guys win helps the other guys come along and that's happened.

"I'm sure you're going to have a couple of the Irish guys up there challenging this week to try to keep that run going.

"It was great to get back into the winners circle again and it meant an awful lot to me. Now I want to kick on from there."

Clarke's hoping he will be one of them after ending a three-year barren spell with that last gasp, 40-foot birdie putt in the BMW Asian Open.

But he knows that if he is going to make Nick Faldo's Ryder Cup side automatically, he's going to have to win another "couple of times" this summer.

Ranked just outside the top 25 in the Ryder Cup race, Clarke will get to within touching distance of an automatic Ryder Cup spot if he wins the €416,660 top prize.

And Clarke wants to take full advantage by riding his wave of good form to the top of the leaderboard.

He said: "It was great to get back into the winners circle again and it meant an awful lot to me. Now I want to kick on from there.

"Okay, I made winning more difficult than I should have done but I got it done in the end and I want to get back as soon as possible again."

Confessing that he had shaken a monkey off his back, Clarke's concentrating his efforts on the European Tour and retaining his Ryder Cup place.

And that's why he won't be trying to pre-qualify for the US Open at Walton Heath next month, explaining that it will disrupt his plans to play in Wales and Austria.

He said: "I'm doing everything I can to try to make the Ryder Cup Team. My schedule now, it's firmly based around Europe. My goal is to try to make the team and you know, some people may frown at my decision but that's the way that I see it."

The Ryder Cup was a friendly affair last time with Clarke coming out of mourning to play a massive role in Europe's record-equalling victory.

But he sees new US skipper Paul Azinger as a fiery character who will be keen to put one over on his rival Faldo.

He said: "Zinger has always been a fiery personality. That’s the way he is on and off the golf course. Nick and himself don't particularly see eye-to-eye, which is obvious.

“And you know, you have two different captains and whether there is a little bit more spice, I imagine there will be, that's only good for The Ryder Cup.

"They are desperate to win it back, and they will have a very strong team trying whatever they can to get the trophy back."

Clarke sees no reason why he can't pull off another Ryder Cup masterclass now that his life is settled again and he is recovering from the grief of his tragic loss.

He said: "I've been to The Ryder Cup since Heather passed away; I've won again since she passed away.

"So all of those benchmarks, those first time things I've done. Last year I was going back to venues and thinking: 'Heather and I use to stay here, we used to do that.'

"So now I've done it all. The Ryder Cup is one I desperately want to play in, but because I've already done it once, it is a lot easier."