DUNDALK'S Ruth Copas put in a superb performance at last week's Irish Close Tennis Championships at Donnybrook to emerge as the winner of the U-23 singles title with a brilliant series of wins over Alison Clarke 3-6 6-3 6-3
Second seed Nicola Drummy 6/3 6/2 and then a hard-hitting, accurate performance, late on Friday night to defeat top seed Janeen Laabei 6-0 6-2.
Ruth's display demonstrated remarkable improvement in her serve and ground-stroke consistency and her victory is just reward for all her hard work this year. To cap a busy week, Ruth also competed in the Leinster Junior Open at Lansdowne where she was defeated at the semi-final stage by the eventual winner and current Irish Junior champion, Karola Bejenaru.
Joseph Mullen reached the final of the mens equilivant with wins over Eoin McGovern (Kilkenny) 6/4 6/2, Conor McCooey (Carrickmines) 6/2 7/5 and Stephen Martin 6/4 7/6. Joseph was beaten in a long, close final by Jack Hughes (Naas) on a 6/7 6/3 6/1 scoreline. At Lansdowne, Joseph lost at the semi-final stage to Cork's David Gardiner 3/6 6/3 6/3. He teamed up with Fergus O'Rourke in the doubles but they also exited at the semi-final stage. Joseph and Ruth are coached by John McGahon at the MacX Academy in Dundalk.
There were notable results achieved by other academy members at Lansdowne. In the U12 section Annamai Mullen defeated Hannah Egan 6/0 6/0 and Sophie Quinn 6/1 6/3 before losing her quarter final to Alison O'Dea (3rd seed).
Zofia Mullen enjoyed the U10 round robin event. Tom Harty and Daniel Mullen battled well to make the U14 main draw and both were unlucky to draw top seeds in the early rounds. Tom played his best singles match of late going down 7/6 6/4 to Thomas Brennan (3rd seed) while Daniel lost to Cian Maguire (1st seed) 6/1 6/1. They teamed up in the doubles and made the semi-finals, which summed up a very satisfying week for them.
In the U14 girls, Síofra Watson lost her quarter final to eventual runner-up Maria Perla Biansumba, however, she won the doubles title with her partner Heather Naughton. Neil Jones (U16) had his best tournament for some time with main draw singles wins over Fergus O'Rourke 7/6 4/6 7/6, James Ryan 4/6 6/4 6/3 and Jakob Robb 6/4 6/4. This brought Neil to the semi-final stage where he lost to the eventual runner-up Niall Casey. Ardghal MacMahon (U16) defeated Eoin Donoghue 6/3 6/0 but lost his next round to Declan Gardiner 7/6 5/7 6/2.
Overall, this was a fine start to the summer season of tennis tournaments for all the Dundalk trained players. We look forward to more success in this week's Louth Junior Open sponsored by Fyffes and we salute Joseph Mullen and Ruth Copas as they make their way to the Aegon Junior International in Edinburgh, Scotland.