Wednesday 23 October 2019

Tennis club with a big past and a brighter future

There are big plans to renovate the old clubhouse at Laytown/Bettystown tennis club in an effort to bring the club facilities up to scratch.

It will be a major investment and a grant application for €80,000 is presently under consideration.

The club held an open day recently and one of those in attendance was Adri Berney who has been part of the club for 50 years.

She recalled many of the great players down the years, the likes of Eleanor O'Neill one of the very best in the country.

Jim McArdle, Shaun Black, Gladys Eagleton, Des Walsh, Terry Grant, Ann McCullough, Alice Smyth and Louise Darcy and Derek Little and others have carried on the tradition according to PRO Suzanne Cafferky.

'The Junior open has been running continuously in the club since at least the early 1950's. Many famous names like Ken Fitzgibbon and Des Early were winners of the event in the past. The competition in those days in addition to the weekly junior club events were organised and run by Ms Duffner and Ms Gray. Ms Duffner's relations were involved in photography and Mr Gray ran a bicycle repair shop in Drogheda where the Abbey Shopping Centre now stands,' she explained.

American students who were staying in Gormanstown would enter as well as many inter-provincial players from Dublin. Disco 'hops' were run in the summer on Fridays and during junior open week. The Dubliners would often bring tents and camp on the burrows during open week.

In the 1950's, Eleanor O Neill won the girls national under 18 singles title 3 times running and she went on to play in Wimbledon and US Open. She is the sister of former local dentist Pat O Neill.

Drogheda Independent