Gene-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are of major interest for genome analysis and breeding applications in the key grassland species perennial ryegrass. High-throughput 454 Titanium transcriptome sequencing was performed on two genotypes, which previously have been used to establish the VrnA F2 mapping population. The sequences were assembled and used for in-silico SNP discovery. SNPs supported by a minimum number of eight reads, within candidate genes for important agronomic traits, were selected for Illumina GoldenGate genotyping and used to map 768 expressed genes in the VrnA mapping population. Here we report on large-scale SNP discovery, and the construction of a genetic map enabling QTL fine mapping, map-based cloning, and comparative genomics in perennial ryegrass.