What a day, and that was only the tennis! To have Mary O’Connell receive her Muriel Bolton award made the occasion extra special.

It was a rarity to have four teams competing in DLTC league finals day. Wicklow Town hosted the finals and with six courts in operation this meant that Sandycove had a pairing on every available court for both the 11am and 12.30pm sessions. Where to look for the supporters was the issue. There were messages being passed around continuously regarding the scores in various matches as the excitement built –

O35 1st Men’s Team – 11am Vs Elm Park

The O35 Class 2 final was a battle to be finished first and claim the title! First off court was No 2 pair Rob Neiland and Dave Cooney with a comprehensive double bagel to get the ball rolling for the team. At No 1, Cormac Jennings and Catalin Jordan were in a close battle but coming through well winning the first set 6-4 and a break up in the third. The No 3 pairing of Robbie Kernan and Philip Craig pulled back a slow start to win the first set 7-5. Cormac and Catalin were relentless in their serving and returning and Cormac was at this point serving for the match when a roar from the court behind indicated that Robbie and Philip had claimed the title with a few points to spare. Not to be outdone Cormac served out the game to another roar of approval from Catalin. Well done lads, a super performance and all bodes well for Class 1 next year.

O35 2nd Men’s Team – 11am Vs Trim

Trim were unfortunate to have to travel to Wicklow Town for their final against the might of the Sandycove O35 2nd team. Their second pair got off to a flyer and raced to a two victory Des Noctor and Alan Warren. After their heroics in the semi-final, Tom O’Higgins and JP Begley repeated their coolness under pressure to pull through against a tricky Trim pair. Now it was all down to captain Steve McGoohan and Ian Brady at No 3. Having learnt from Tom and JP the previous week Ian and Steve maintained their focus amidst the distraction of line call discussions to ease past their opponents and take the pennant. A special mention to all the subs who played for the team in the section matches as they managed to maintain an unbeaten record.

O35 1st Ladies Team – 12.30pm vs Brookfield

The spectacular ladies first team cruised into the Finals with a phenomenal 14 out of a possible 15 points in the group stages. Nerves were on edge as poor Ellen was stuck in traffic as a result of an awful incident on the M50, but she made it with minutes to spare! First to grab a point were Sarah Jane Lloyd and Joanna Van Remoortere at 3, making it look easy 6-4, 6-1. Seasoned pairing Sandie O’Callaghan (C) and Sarah Emerson decided to stress out the poor spectators further by allowing it to go to 3 sets, winning the first 6-3, then down in the second 3-6. . . how was it going to finish?? Meanwhile at 1s Ellen Pinschmidt and Alison O’Connor faced some tough opposition and had to really dig deep. . . .they lost the first 4-6; nabbed the second 7-5 with gritty determination. Ali and Ellen were 4-3 up in the third and looking strong when Captain Sandie and Sarah flew through their 3rd set with a decisive 6-1 win!! Another first place for Sandycove, much to the delight of their team of supporters. Best guess is this squad will bounce through class 2 next year, and up to class 1 thereafter!!

O55 Men’s Team – 12.30pm Vs Clontarf

The O55 team had the opportunity to regain some pride by taking on a Clontarf team that had already inflicted a 3-0 loss in the section. Conor O’Reilly and Iain Walker stepped up and produced some of their best tennis of the campaign to reverse the previous loss and win a tight two setter at No 3 doubles. At No 1 Roy Bailey and Paul FitzGerald were involved in a tight and nervy battle at No 1 but came up short. The remaining match at No 2 involved big hitting Paul Ivory and the ever consistent Paul Kilduff. The Pauls were out for revenge after an uncharacteristic loss to the Clontarf pair in the section. They certainly redeemed themselves as the match entered a third set. The last set was nip and tuck but the Clontarf showed their experience as they produced some excellent tennis to edge the third set 6-4. It was a great performance by the Pauls as would be attested to by the large crowd surrounding the court. Next year for the winners pennant.

The senior league campaign this year was one of Sandycove’s strongest showings in recent memory.
2 other ladies teams were each just a single point off playoffs.
Subs leaned in and made a difference, and supporters travelled near and far.
Sandycove is on a winning trajectory – lets keep it going!!

Well done to all

Your Captains
Paul, Greg, Jenny & Mandy