All roads lead to Mullingar
Crowds gather to watch the Mulligar Scratch Cup - an institution in Irish golf.

Crowds gather to watch the Mulligar Scratch Cup - an institution in Irish golf.

Rory McIlroy gave it worldwide publicity this week in Akron — now it's time for someone to add their name alongside his when the Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy begins at the famous midlands course on Sunday.

The 72-hole strokeplay has been a classic event on the calendar since Joe Carr won the inaugural event in 1963 — 51 years ago.

Asked before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron if he’d ever suffered a crisis of faith in the golfing sense, the Open champion confessed: “Yeah, I was ready to give it up when I was 16.  I remember the drive.  I just won the Mullingar Scratch Cup, and I remember the drive home with my dad. 

‘It was like a three‑hour drive.  And I said to him, I don't like this anymore.  I don't enjoy it.  I just won, and I don't know, I'm not happy, I'm not excited.

“I went back home and didn't play golf for about three days.  Actually, I really like this game.  I was just an impulsive teenager going through hormonal issues.”

Many of the greats of Irish golf have captured the trophy — McIlroy in 2006, Joe Carr (1963) , Des Smyth (1972), Philip Walton (1982), Darren Clarke (1988), Paul McGinley (1991), Pádraig Harrington (1994) and Shane Lowry  (2008), to name just a few.

While many of the top internationals are absent as they prepare for next week's  European Amateur Championship in Scotland, there is still a very strong field.

Dessie Morgan will be bidding to end Mullingar's long drought while defending champion Daniel Holland will be joined by newly minted internationals such as Richard Bridges, East of Ireland winner Colm Campbell and Irish Close champion John-Ross Galbraith.

Multiple championship winner Robbie Cannon and a host of interprovincials such as Geoff Lenehan, Ian O'Rourke, Conor O'Rourke, Tiarnan McLarnon and Colin Fairweather will also be in action as well as South of Ireland protagonists such as Alan Lowry, Richard Knightly, Alex Gleeson and Eanna Griffin.

As usual, the leading 51 players qualify for the final 36 holes on Monday.

Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy 2014

Sunday 3rd & Monday 4th August

Draw for Rounds 1 & 2 (Sunday 3rd August)

06:22 11:22 Paul Coughlan (Moate) Desmond Morgan (Mullingar) Conor Slevin (New Forest)
06:30 11:30 Kevin Metcalfe (New Forest) Gary Shaw (Mullingar) Jamal Sabir (Moate)
06:38 11:38 Patrick Neville (Bearna) Paul Fitzgerald (Craddockstown) Ciaran Blaney (Co Meath)
06:46 11:46 Daniel O’Connor (Athlone) John Swarbrigg (Mullingar) Jack Solan (Rathsallagh)
06:54 11:54 Peter Dolan (Athenry) Lee O'Meara (Castle Barna) Eoghan O'Donovan (Cradd’kstown)
07:02 12:02 Gareth Carr (Mullingar) Bernard Bermingham (Carton Hse) Thomas O'Connor (Athlone)
07:10 12:10 Ruairi Kennelly (Portmarnock) Colm Crowley (Woodbrook) Ruairi O'Connor (Co Sligo)
07:18 12:18 Darren Fitzgerald (Castleknock) Edward Ryan (Lucan) Gavin Young (Birr)
07:26 12:26 Seamus Cullen (Slieve Russell) Allan Kiernan (Forrest Little) David McMahon (Tralee)
07:34 12:34 Declan O'Neill (Carton House) Lee McMillan (Cradockstown) Daniel Murphy (Portarlington)
07:42 12:42 Richard Tighe (Elm Park) Stephen Barker (Mourne) Jack Pierse (Portmarnock)
07:50 12:50 Ian O’Rourke Ross Kenny (Naas) Robbie Pierse (Grange)
07:58 12:58 Sean Poucher (Limerick) Evan Farrell (Ardee) Jake Whelan (Newlands)
08:06 13:06 Eoin O'Connor (Elm Park) Caolan Kennedy (Forrest Little) Shane Hogan (Nenagh)
08:14 13:14 Shaun O'Connor (Luttrellstown Cstl) Billy McGarry (Birr) David Lally (Mullingar)
08:22 13:22 Declan Reidy (Co Sligo) Liam Grehan (Mullingar) Adam Doran (Ardee)
08:30 13:30 Shane McGlynn (Carton House) Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin) Cian Geraghty (Ltown & Btown)
08:38 13:38 Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene) Shaun Carter (Stackstown) Declan Loftus (Castlebar)
08:46 13:46 Colin Cunningham (Carton House) Stephen Walsh (Kilkenny) Stephen Healy (Carton House)
08:54 13:54 Robert Cannon (Balbriggan) Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock)
09:02 14:02 Sean Flanagan (Co Sligo) Alex Gleeson (Castle) Mark Morrissey (Mount Wolseley)
09:10 14:10 Colin Fairweather (Knock) John-Ross Galbraith (Whitehead) Alan Lowry (Esker Hills)
09:18 14:18 Conor O'Rourke (Naas) Kelan McDonagh (Athlone) Gerard Dunne (Co Louth)
09:26 14:26 Eoin Arthurs (Forrest Little) Barry Anderson (Royal Dublin) Joe Lyons (Galway)
09:34 14:34 Richard Bridges (Stackstown) Daniel Holland (Castle) Ryan McKinstry (Cairndhu)
09:42 14:42 Paul Reavey (Warrenpoint) Mark Shanahan (Castlemartyr) William Hanna (Kilkeel)
09:50 14:50 John Hickey (Cork) Thomas Fay (Rush) Caolan Rafferty (Greenore)
09:58 14:58 Gavin O'Connor (Malahide) Eanna Griffin (Waterford) Paul Burke (Mullingar)
10:06 15:06 Graham Nugent (Kilkenny) Stephen Brady (Co Sligo) Aaron Grant (Dundalk)
10:14 15:14 Bruno Lupo (Sutton) David Carroll (Grange) Simon McConnell (Ballyclare)