Love on the lawn

Above: U14 Mixed Doubles – Lucy Crowe, Jamie Forbes, Kate McAlinden and Ryan Byrne.

Above: U14 Mixed Doubles – Lucy Crowe, Jamie Forbes, Kate McAlinden and Ryan Byrne.

Recently NewsFour visited Dublin’s friendliest and best tennis club, Claremont Railway Lawn Tennis Club in Sandymount.

Claremont LTC merged with Railway Union back in 1982, but Claremont’s roots go back a further hundred years to when it was founded in the nineteenth century. It remains a top quality tennis club to this day, and has every intention of continuing to be far into the future.

NewsFour met with Aidan O’Hora (men’s club Captain) and Will Wilshere (head coach) in the clubhouse off Park Avenue to discuss the club and its activities.
We got a good impression from Aidan and Will while drinking tea with them in the clubhouse. The walls are covered with memorabilia of success, participation, and heritage. There is a strong sense of club identity, with great sporting values evident.

Arguably the most famous person to represent the Claremont Railway LTC over the years has been Ireland’s Olympic Gold Medallist Ronnie Delaney. He was an active member of the tennis club, winning the club’s under-19s singles title in his day. He went on to win the gold medal for the 1500 metres men’s run in the 1956 Olympics. Delaney credits much of his athletic success to playing tennis, a sport which cultivated many important qualities, for example endurance and coordination, among many others.

Claremont has achieved an enviable balance in their club ethos and atmosphere. They manage to instil a very warm, welcoming, social atmosphere, where active enjoyment is the prime motivation. It’s a very family-friendly environment, where people of all ages from four and up can participate, learn, and compete. The club manages to achieve this now-rare sporting atmosphere while at the same time maintaining a competitive spirit and producing successful athletes.

Claremont has something for everyone of all ages and abilities, from young children up to active retirees.

The Junior cycle of training and competition started on September 14th, and takes in all-comers from the age of just four to 19. Training is on Mondays and Thursday at 3.30pm to 6.30pm. New members are always welcome.

There is a large and well qualified coaching team headed by Will Wilshere. He is as nice and humble a man as you could hope to meet, yet he is a first-rate competitive tennis player and a great coach. Claremont and the wider Dublin 4 community is lucky to have him. Will is ably assisted in coaching by a large and capable team, including Joanne O’Reilly and Cormac Jennings.

Members are particularly well facilitated. Unique in Ireland, Claremont has six grass tennis courts. NewsFour viewed those courts after a busy summer of training and competition and can assure you that they are in immaculate condition. There are also five hard courts available, which means that tennis is available all year round to the dedicated enthusiast.

Above: Girls U14 Doubles Final – Emily McAlinden, Sarah Crowe, Sarah Forbes and Kate McAlinden. Images supplied by Claremont Railway Lawn Tennis Club.

Above: Girls U14 Doubles Final – Emily McAlinden, Sarah Crowe, Sarah Forbes and Kate McAlinden.
Images supplied by Claremont Railway Lawn Tennis Club.

The club is very active in all levels of competition and has produced some very fine players. One of Ireland’s top tennis players is Claremont’s own Brendan Dempsey, the club’s men’s champion. He has recently returned from four years spent in America, where his tennis skills and prowess earned him a scholarship to study at the reputable Gardner Webb University in sunny North Carolina. Brendan performed with distinction both on and off court.

Ladies’ champion is young Alison O’Reilly, a fourth-year student in Muckross Park School.

Every Thursday night the club hosts the Social Ten Tour, where members and non-members can compete in a safe, welcoming, and friendly atmosphere. Anyone interested in simply enjoying the game, or in having the opportunity to continue enjoying competing when now considered by some to be too old for contact sports, should head down to Claremont Railway LTC and have fun.

Aidan assures me that value for money is very much a part of membership of the club. There are different types of membership available set at appropriate prices. Corporate membership is also available.

Claremont Railway Lawn Tennis Club, with nearly 400 members across all ages and both sexes, has been successful for well over one hundred years. We can see why. With such a warm welcome, great facilities, great training and development, and fun competition for all ages and abilities, its future success must be assured.

Keep up the good work.

By Keith Murphy