The O’Meara Course at Carton House.The venue for the 2014 Irish Open is expected to be annouced this week when the European Tour releases the full 2014 schedule at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The O’Meara Course at Carton House is expected to get the nod to play host from June 19-22, the week after the US Open at Pinehurst.

The date swap with the BMW International is a nod to motoring giants, who sponsor three events on the schedule including the Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth.

Of course, nothing is set in stone in these tough economic times for the European Tour and while it would be a surprise if Carton House did not get a second bite of the cherry at the sister course to the more challening Montgomerie layout that hosted the event this year, the Tour and its partners continue to explore other avenues.

It is no secret that they would love to return to Northern Ireland, where the 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush was a sellout success. But there are other five-star venues that would fit the bill, all of which have hosted the Irish Open in the past.

The contenders could acccurately be described as the usual suspects - leaving aside the men-only links of Portmarnock and Royal Dublin, which are politically out of bounds with government money making up a chunk of the prize fund.

Fota Island Resort. Picture via www.fotaisland.ieThere has been talk of Druids Glen, Mount Juliet and Fota Island in golfing circles for some time now but with the 2014 Irish Open likely to have a deeper field with up to three places in The Open at Royal Liverpool now up for grabs, it would appear only fair to give Carton House another shot.

This year’s edition ticked many boxes for the players but for the fans, the long hike around the wide-open spaces of “the Monty” - not to mention the fact that star attractions Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Pádraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley all missed the halfway cut - was far from ideal.

Bar the announcement of a title sponsor with ties to Munster or a specific desire to return to one of the old stomping grounds, it would make sense to give the recently enhanced O’Meara Course a chance.

Wherever the event eventually goes, it will still be the envy of many on the European Tour with the presence of majors winners McIlroy, McDowell, Clarke and Harrington already guaranteed.

Still, many have fond memories of places such as Fota Island, where huge crowds turned out for the Irish Opens of 2001-2002 as well as the 2006 AIB Irish Seniors Open.

With Royal Portrush staging the British Amateur Championship during Irish Open week next year, fans will be faced with a difficult choice.

Choosing the right venue for the Irish Open, perhaps for 2015 and beyond, is just as tough.