Poor night’s sleep last night and tossed and turned into the early morning as the first rays broke the horizon. Only one solution to quieten the mind so off to the forty I went at 07:05 to waken the body, mind and soul to all that they day ahead would bring and in the hope that words would flow easy to the quill.

Walking home lighter of foot I happened upon one of our most senior members, a sprightly fellow who has born witness to 7 decades of life, basket of balls in toe walking into the Club at 07:43. What on earth I enquired was he doing at this hour of the day? It was simple you see. He was not happy with his game these last few weeks so only one solution for it and that of course was practice. Inspiration if inspiration was needed for our finalist today and for all of us who get great Joy & fun from the game.

Onto last night Semi Finals results. Firstly the 0 65’s update from my trusty on field veteran assistant. Both semi-finals of the O65’s championships took place today . Prior to play commencing all pairings were briefed by Michael Butler to ensure they understood the revised rules of engagement … to say that Michael was not impressed by the competitor’s knowledge of the rules is an understatement. In any event play commenced and very quickly the pairing of Giles Kerr and Pat Leamy took complete control with Giles dominating at the net and Pat playing brilliantly at the base line. Their opponents, Pat Giles and Bill Godwin tried their best but had no answer and there was no algorithm that could come to their aid on this occasion .

So messrs Kerr and Leamy advanced to the final and their opponents will be Paul Murphy and Joe Cunningham . Joe stood in for Dermot Ennis who unfortunately had to withdraw from the tournament. Paul and Joe defeated Michael Keane and Ken Peare in a hard fought encounter and will now face Giles and Pat in the final to be played on the Jimmy Casey court at 9.30 am on Saturday . Michael Butler will umpire ensuring that all rules will be fully adhered to.

In our men’s Plate semi Finals Ian Walker advanced against Des Noctor in some style to face the formidable Frank McCooey it what will be a great match up. In truth Des looked somewhat heavy legged given his 3 hour marathon of the previous night but take nothing away from Ian’s performance. This boy’s got game. In Our ladies final four Semis Clodagh Lowry progressed with fine win over Elaine Prior while Lisa Morgan & Jenny MCcann played out a tight but very enjoyable 3 set match late into the evening with Lisa winning 6/2 6/7 6/3.

To our 8up remaining Semi’s with firstly the Bennett boys Luke & Dermott taking on the talented and fast rising pair of Caoimhine Cronin & Sam Hughes. A very short few years ago these two may have been somewhat intimidated by the weight of shot and power they were facing. Not a bit of it on this Friday night. The received that power with ease and no little skill return with interest all attempts by the Bennett boys and won out handsomely in the end. In the 2nd of the Semi-finals another family pairing of Ken & Andrew Browne went into battle against the number 1 seeds Roy Bailey & Steve McGoohan. A cracking affair with the Tipp men winning the first set 6/4 which spurred Bailey and McGoohan to find their game winning the 2nd 6/4. The continued improvement of Andrews play as noted by many throughout the event may have been the difference in the match as when required he held 2 all-important service games as the Browne’s reached what will be a great final. In the ladies 8up semi we were again treated to a great game with the much fancied Natalie Doyle/Sarah Jane Lloyd going head to head against Helen Hughes & Colette McNichols. The tightest of first sets was won by the favourites 7/6 and it looked as if this would prove the all important set. This is a semi though and it takes a sprinkling of ability and a spoon full of desire to get to this stage of the tournament and armed with much of the latter McNichols and Hughes gave all they had in the locker to win the 2nd set 6/3. With nothing left to give and with Sarah Jane & Natalie sensing weakness in their opponents they gave the girls no respite and went on the win the final set with some ease.

Onto the two highlight matches of the evening the Lucky Dip Final and the Mixed final. First into the fray was the classic matchup in the Mixed final with Rob Neiland and Rebecca McNally O’Rourke pitted against Steve Gill and Chloe Giacometti. As high a quality a final we could not wish for with both pairs equally matched and looking to dominate the net at every opportunity. As impressive as McNallys ground strokes were they were matched by Chloe’s speed of foot and thought with some beautiful wrist work and lightness of touch while their partners starred each other down as the intensity grew with Chloe and Steve taking the first set 7/5. With set one in the bag the eventual winners began to play an error free game challenging every shot fired by Neiland and Rebecca until they broke in game nine.

A well-earned Finals win and thanks to all four for producing a great spectacle for a full house.

In the lucky Dip final Ken Browne fresh from his 8up Semi final win took to court with Natalie Doyle in what looked like a challenging match up against Paul Curran & Joan Heelan and so it proved. No sentiment here as one would expect given it was a final as Curran and Heelan showing little respect for reputation and previous round results got straight into their game with quiet and confident communication and determination evidence from this pair. With a first set win at 6/4 behind them they grew in confidence with Joan in particular raising her game throughout. And raise it they needed to as what faced them across the net was a team of great quality, resilience and touch. Finals though are all about small margins and on the day Curran who was wonderfully solid throughout as was Joan delivering a championship winning trophy for both households.

A great day ahead awaits

As for the thought of the day:
“Finals need no motivation” – Your Championship Committee.