Crowds gather to watch the Mulligar Scratch Cup - an institution in Irish golf. Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy might have won five majors between them so far but the trio would admit that lifting the famous Mullingar Scratch Cup was one of the biggest achievements of their amateur careers.

On Monday all three will be at Royal Lytham and St Annes preparing for The Open but back home, no fewer than 21 past winners of the famous old trophy will tee it up in a unique event to help mark this year’s 50th edition of the Grant Thornton sponsored trophy, which will be played from August 25-26.

The stellar line up includes 1972 champion Des Smyth and 1995 winner Gary Murphy as well as ex-tour players John McHenry (1986) and Raymie Burns (1992) and amateur greats such as former Amateur champion and Walker Cup star Garth McGimpsey (1985).

Sponsored by St Francis Healthy Village with a reunion breakfast at 9.30am and an 11.15am shotgun start, it’s a chance to see the likes of Brian Malone (1967, ‘74), Martin O’Brien (1968, ‘71, ‘76), Noel Mason (1969), Eddie Dunne (1977) and Frank Gannon (1979, ‘87) take on the famous James Braid course once more.

Des Smyth’s brother Val Smyth (1980), Ian Elliott (1983), Paul Murphy (1984), Leslie Walker (1990), Eddie Power (1993) and Tim Rice (1999) will also be in action as well as Eoin O’Sullivan (2002), Greg Bowden (2004), Paul O’Hanlon (2007), Kelan McDonagh (2010) and the reigning champion Nicky Grant (2011).

First played in 1963, when the great Joe Carr triumphed, the Mullingar Scratch Cup regularly attracted a field that was a who’s who of amateur golf in Britain and Ireland.

Mullingar stalwart’s Paddy McCartan and Paddy Dunne set the ball rolling before the likes of Albert Lee took up the baton and organised one of the highlights of the amateur calendar.

Where possible, the former champions will play with the club Captain and President in their victory year and as Albert remarked: “It will be great to have them all back.”

Mullingar Scratch Cup - Past winners
2011    Nicky Grant
2010    Kelan McDonagh
2009    Connor Doran
2008    Shane Lowry
2007    Paul O’Hanlon
2006    Rory McIllroy
2005    Gareth Shaw
2004    Greg Bowden
2003    Colm Moriarty
2002    Eoin O’Sullivan
2001    Colm Moriarty
2000    Johnny Foster
1999    Tim Rice
1998    Pat Collier
1997    Sean Quinlivan
1996    Peter Lawrie
1995    Gary Murphy
1994    Padraig Harrington
1993    Eddie Power
1992    Raymond Burns
1991    Paul McGinley
1990    Leslie Walker
1989    Darren Clarke
1988    Adrian Morrow
1987    Frank Gannon
1986    John McHenry
1985    Garth McGimpsey
1984    Paul Murphy
1983    Ian Elliott
1982    Philip Walton
1981    Mark Gannon
1980    Val Smyth
1979    Frank Gannon
1978    B. Wilson
1977    Eddie Dunne
1976    M.D. O’Brien
1975    Hugh Smyth
1974    B. P. Malone
1973    Mark Gannon
1972    Des Smyth
1971    Martin D. O’Brien
1970    Peter Benka
1969    N. Mason
1968    Martin D. O’Brien
1967    B. P. Malone
1966    Peter Townsend
1965    Peter Townsend
1964    Tom Craddock
1963    J.B. Carr