On another sunny, balmy November Sunday morning the Super 7ths from Sandycove took on the great and good from Greystones in the semi-final of the DLTC playoffs. Spaces on the balcony were at a premium as the clock ticked towards 11am.

On the Jimmy Casey Court Tom O’Higgins and Andrew Browne took on the interesting pairing of two lefties and the unusual combination presented some initial problems for the boys as they struggled to come to grips with the whipped forehand returns from both flanks. They were soon down 4-1 in the first set which sent a ripple of concern among the supporters which included the full Browne clan. But our lads are nothing if not resourceful and battled their way back to 4 all and then traded service games to enter the decisive tie break. The tennis at this point was far above the level expected in this Class which led to numerous discussions as to whether this was really a Class 7 playoff! There were no easy points in the tiebreak and O’Higgins and Browne excelled as the tension grew.

On Court 2 the Dermot Bennett and Steve McGoohan team were up against the wiley older McCooey, brother of club stalwart Frank. Benefitting from the demanding training regime instigated by captain O’Higgins, Bennett and McGoohan were quickly into their stride and took a comfortable first set 6-3. But the McCooeys are made of stern stuff and it’s never over ‘til it’s over and Greystones edged the second set in a very tight and tense tiebreak.

The final pairing of Paddy Dempsey and Cian O’Higgins had a confident swagger as they entered the fray on court 3. Soon the silky smooth strokes of Dempsey and the controlled power of O’Higgins were too much for Greystones as they cruised through the first set 6-1. The speed of the win on court 3 was impressive as the match on the Jimmy Casey court was only entering the tiebreak. First point on the board to Sandycove and a boost for the remaining matches on court.

All attention was now focused on the Jimmy Casey Court as the match entered the crucial first set tiebreak. With the match on court 2 on a knife edge it was important to build on the momentum gained from the comprehensive win on court 3. The O’Higgins and Browne combo were not found wanting and put the balcony at ease with a brilliantly solid tiebreak. The momentum had now swung firmly in Sandycove’s favour. The second set was a celebratory lap of honour as the lads held their nerve and service to complete another famous victory which I’m sure will be regaled in the local hostelries for many a year.

COVID has very few benefits but one is the playing of the DLTC finals in one of the clubs contesting the final. In this case we have the opportunity to cheer on the Super 7ths on Sunday at home at 11am against Greystones. A large crowd is expected, so arrive early and please avail of the chairs which will be available around the club to ensure we comply with social distancing. To create space for the seats we will be closing the entrance to the club for cars at 10.45 and if possible please park in the surrounding areas as cars, especially those in front of the clubhouse will impede visibility of the matches.