Monday 20 May 2019

Locals turn out in their numbers for Tennis Club Championships

Sligo Tennis Club's 2018 Club Championships, was one of the biggest and most competitive tournaments in many years, with 101 competitors taking part in the event.

The success of the event is a testament to the hard-working tennis captain, Emer Concannon, and her team of dedicated helpers.

It is also due, in no small measure, to the generous sponsorship from the Bistro Bianconi, and the Club gratefully acknowledges the financial and personal support from Pat and Gillian Grimes.

The Men's A defending Champion, Conor Walsh, was a year older and wiser than in 2017, but he came up against a very determined and capable Mel Bourke playing in his first Senior Championship final. Walsh won the first set, but Bourke fought back to take the second. Bourke raced into a commanding lead in the third set, before young Walsh regrouped, and slowly regained control of proceedings.

This set went to a tie-break, before Walsh edged it on the narrowest of margins. A brilliant match and great credit to both players, with the only regret being there had to be a loser.

Aoifín Shorten was the red-hot favourite in the Ladies A section, and lived up to that billing in the earlier rounds. She met Paula Watt in the final, with Watt also in flying form all through the Championships. Shorten took the first set 6-1, but Watt made a real match of it in the second, before going down 7-5.

The Men's B singles went to John Kelly, who overcame Paul Hardiman in two sets 7-6 6-1.

Claire Mulcahy took the Ladies B Singles event, winning all her Round Robin matches, and accounting for AnnaMarie Mc Govern in an entertaining final.

A number of experienced players featured in the Ladies C Singles, with some very close contests all through the tournament. It was no surprise to see Olivia Seery and Patricia Mc Mahon take to the court on finals day, with Seery adding the trophy to her already impressive collection.

The club has seen a good influx of new members during the year, and a number of these participated in the Club Championships.

Mairead Carter and Claire Kelly Lohan were the winners of the D Section Ladies Doubles.

Nick Miller's tennis career has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, and it was no surprise to see him make the Men's A Doubles final, where he was partnered by Mel Bourke. They were up against the top seeds of Tony Comiskey and Stephen Cunningham, and the match was a ding-dong affair from the get-go.

This contest saw some the hardest hitting tennis of the week, but eventually the precision and consistency of Bourke and Miller enabled them to pull away for a hard-earned victory.

It was another thriller in the Ladies A Doubles when Deirdre Moylan and Karen Walsh took on the formidable duo of Aoifín Shorten and Paula Watt. This match was a contrast in styles, with some excellent shots from all players. The result went to Shorten and Watt in two sets.

Frank Armstrong and John Burke were two of the most experienced players in this year's tournament, and combined brilliantly to beat Frank Moylan and Kevin Walsh in the Men's B Doubles Final.

Experience was also a factor in the Women's B Doubles, where the 2016 winners, Phil Conheady and AnnaMarie Mc Govern, overcame the challenge from Kay Curley and Francie Mahon.

The Men's C Doubles saw some epic encounters, and the final saw Conor O'Brien and Trevor Ferguson up against Abraham Regio and Willy Pineda. The quality of tennis was excellent, and the greater experience of Regio and Pineda was the difference which took them over the winning line.

Shauna Mackey and Sheila Mc Cormack were top seeds in the Ladies C Doubles, and overcame an energetic challenge from Joy O'Brien and Debbie Ferguson.

A number of repeat performers made it to centre-court for the Mixed A Final, fought out between Oliver Joyce and Aoifin Shorten versus Paula Watt and Nick Miller.

This contest saw some of the most stylish play of the week, and was a highly entertaining contest. Joyce and Shorten won the first set 7-5, but Miller and Watt came back with guns blazing to win the second 6-3. Both pairs upped the tempo in the final set, but the hunger of Miller and Watt saw them clinch the title for a fully deserved victory. Frank Armstrong was out on court again in the Mixed B Final, ably accompanied by Ursula O'Shea. Their opponents were Grainne Dunne and Brian King, who had come through a series of tough encounters on the way to the final. Armstrong and O'Shea took the trophy but only after going to the wire in the second set.

Trevor Ferguson and Pauline Mc Loughlin had a great win in the Mixed C, when edging out Joy O'Brien and Willy Pineda.

Captain Emer Concannon presented the Eleanor Concannon Trophy to Aimee Ocsio, as the Novice who has shown outstanding club spirit, and most improved player in 2018.

The late Eleanor Concannon was a former Captain in the Club, with a particular ambition to encourage Novice participation, so it was very fitting that Emer carried on her mother's legacy in 2018.

Special credit is due to Kay Curley, Francie Mahon and their band of helpers for the many hours of hard graft put into making the club house so resplendent during the week.

Plate Results.

Mens A Singles. Albert Manuel bt Tuyen Vu.

Womens A Singles. Emer Concannon bt Hilary Kilcawley

Ladies A Doubles. Ann Longworth & Aoife Callaghan bt Joanne English & Hilary Kilcawley

Mixed A. Tony Comiskey & Kay Curley bt Joene Efondo & Emer Concannon

Mens B Singles. Brian Mc Gaughey bt Bryan Whelan

Womens B Singles. Eimear Healy bt Ann Barry.

Mens B Doubles. Denis Daly & S Mac Suibhne bt Anthony Cunnane & Brian King

Ladies B Doubles. Grainne Dunne & Pauline Mc Loughlin bt Sinead Gallagher & Alice Mc Nassor.

Mixed B Doubles. Ike Arlan & Francie Mahon bt Denis Daly & Olivia Seery.

Ladies C Singles. Auriel Robinson bt Aimee Ocsio.

Ladies C Doubles. Attracta Devaney & Sue Gray bt Aimee Ocsio & Olivia Seery

Mixed C Doubles. Seamus O'Toole & Ann Mc Daniel bt Paul Reidy & Auriel Robinson

Sligo Champion