Clash of dates hits Mullingar


An unavoidable near-clash of dates with the European men's amateur individual championship in Austria next week is set to deprive the country's premier Scratch Cup tournament in Mullingar of a number of current internationals.

Although the Europeans in Murhof don't actually start until tomorrow week (Wednesday, August 9th), the logistics of travel determine that the official six-man team - plus a number of other players travelling individually - have to depart next Sunday and, so, they are ruled out of competing in the Friends First-sponsored 72-holes Scratch Cup, which takes place on Sunday and Monday.

Among those affected are Irish Close champion Graeme McDowell, and internationals Eamonn Brady, Noel Fox, Michael Hoey, Andy McCormick and Ciaran McMonagle. And Tim Rice, who won in Mullingar last year, has also decided to play in Murhof, although he is not part of the official GUI party. In 1998, Paddy Gribben was the first Irish player to win the European Individual title.

Yet, it is an indication of the current strength-in-depth of Irish amateur golf that there will still be a very strong field competing. Among those seeking to add their names to the roll of honour will be Adrian Morrow, Ken Kearney, Gary Cullen, Mark Campbell, Michael McDermott, Mark Murphy, Justin Kehoe and Johnny Foster.