Tennis: Cahill urges Irish ladies to join pro tour
Ireland needs more women playing on the full-time circuit to make an impact in the Fed Cup, says team boss Garry Cahill.
Cahill made his comments in the wake of last week's Europe-Africa Group Three event in Cairo, where Ireland finished in fifth place of the seven competing nations.
The Ireland team, composed of Australian-born debutant Julia Moriarty, Greystones' Amy Bowtell, Antrim's Lynsey McCullough and Cork's Niamh Coveney, beat Malta and Moldova 3-0 and 2-1 respectively, but lost to Morocco (3-0) and Algeria (2-1).
Morocco, and Turkey, who were in Pool A, gained promotion, and so Cahill's charges will campaign in the bottom-tier in 2011 for the third successive year.
"It's going to be very hard for us to move up from Group Three until we get more players playing full-time tennis," said Cahill. "It was always going to be difficult against the likes of Turkey and Morocco, who have a number of full-time players, with Turkey having two inside the world top 340.
"At the moment, we have only one full-time player -- Julia Moriarty. In contrast, Irish tennis is fortunate to have a very large group of guys playing full time (Louk Sorensen, Conor Niland, James McGee, Barry King, Colin O'Brien, Tristan Farron-Mahon, Daniel Glancy and James Cluskey). In the future one of my main goals is to ensure the same thing happens in the women's game, and I think the signs are quite encouraging."
Cahill went on: "Already, Amy Bowtell (16 last September) is playing a mix of junior and senior events on the ITF circuit, and she plans to focus largely on the senior circuit from this coming summer.
"As well, there is a possibility that Rachael Dillon may go full-time when she finishes college."