Ireland over 45s tennis team see off Grand Slam finalist en route to prestigious Potter Cup
Irish tennis received a boost over the June bank holiday weekend with the victory of the Ireland over 45 men's team against a star-studded field in the Potter Cup at the Real Club de Tenis, Barcelona.
The Potter Cup is run by the International Club, a global organisation that operates events for players who have represented their country at junior, senior or veterans level.
The tournament is effectively the prememinet world Over 45s event for tennis-playing nations - the official world championships are in Miami next October, but not all the top European teams travel.
The team was unseeded and started off with a 4-3 win against a USA team which included French Open finalist Mikael Pernfors, who was beaten in the clay court showpiece Ivan Lendel in 1986, and reached a career high world ranking of 10.
Penfors also previously represented Sweden in a Davis Cup Final. The week after this year’s Potter Cup, Pernfors got to the final of the French Open 45s doubles with former world number 1 Mats Wilander where they fell just short against Sergi Bruguera and 2001 Wimbledone champion Goran Ivanišević.
A 5-2 semi-final win against hosts Spain followed before the Irish team of Scott Barron (Monkstown), Stewart Doyle (Blackrock), Owen Casey (Donnybrook), John Rendina (Castleknock), Ross Niland (Limerick), Alan Donnelly (Naas) and non-playing Captain Garbhan O'Nuallain (Greystones) faced off against France in the final.
After Ireland wore down the French in five hard fought matches to take the singles rubbers 3-2, France conceded the doubles giving the Irish team a 5-2 victory.
Ireland are only the eighth nation ever to win a title over the 47 editions of the Potter Cup, following in the footsteps of Spain, Italy, USA, Great Britain, Brazil, Germany and France.