The eyes of the Irish Tennis Circuit were on Sligo last May bank holiday weekend once again as players came from all over Ireland and beyond to witness the highlight for tennis in the North West; the SIS Sports and Dermot Mc Dermott Solicitors West of Ireland Tennis Tournament. Sligo Tennis Club has never looked as well thanks to it's fantastic bunch of volunteers which have helped to keep tennis rallying under Benbulben.
The tennis at all three levels of completion was of the highest level with some of the best players in the country battling it out to be the West of Ireland champion of 2012.
Congratulations must once again go to competition directors Marie Farrell and Edel Mc Dermott, and captain Liam Farrell and his hard working team for a super human effort in organising 180 competitors who played over three action pack days which concluded on time by Monday afternoon.
Its hard to pick out star players over the weekend but one cannot look further than the impressive winners of the Ladies A and Mens A singles titles, who to quote a few very good club players seem to be playing a different sport to the rest of us. Its an example to anyone taking up the game at any age that there are levels and standards for everyone to aim for, and that the average club player can enjoy the level of tennis that the top players were playing at over the weekend but should also get out on court with the club coach so as to reach the best possible personal performance levels.
In the Ladies A final the impressive number 1 seed Patricia Callen took the title with some outstanding serving and baseline play from the returning to form Kellie 0'Flynn .
The West of Ireland Men's title was won for a second year in a row by Federico Raffo with some of the most impressive tennis seen at Sligo Tennis Club for years, with Sligo man Glenn Norman who is currently playing in Dublin a gallant runner up. A name for the future is local lad, Noah Fleming. Noah was given a wild card and gave the fantastic Federico Raffo his toughest game in the tournament. His performance will give Noah real confidence when returning to the junior ranks over the next few weeks. Noah's style manner and gracefulness in defeat will also stand to him, and we look forward to more battles with Conor Caheny,Frederico and co over the next few years .
The other single winners were as follows:- Chris Neill-Smith taking the Mens Singles from James Gillen 6-2 6-1; Matthew Flanagan won the singles 3 defeating Rafal Ordan from the Cavan Club
The ladies B saw the very impressive Ann-Marie Breen power her way to victory winning 6-3 6-2 in the final over the gutsy Therese Ruane; We expect to see Ann-Marie in the top tier in 2013. Joy Cox was equally impressive in the C section where she carried the tag of number 1 seed, and impressively won the final 6-1 6-0 in the final over Jean Whyte .
There was some fine performances and winners in the doubles by local players
Glenn Norman and Francis Venzon with Conor Caheny and Keith Hopkins prepare for their Mens A Doubles Final in the West of Ireland.
Three Sligo men and a Donegal man made up the men's doubles finals when Glenn Norman and Francis Venzon took the Men's A doubles from Conor Caheny and Keith Hopkins. Marina Swann and Alex Esclante were the clubhouse favourites going into the final of the Mixed and they didn't disappoint the spectators on the balcony taking the B doubles title from the experienced duo of Billy Smith and Oonagh Colton.
Alex Esclante won many friends putting in large commutes for last years tournament, and won even more this year doubling up with the the ever popular Stephen Cuthbertson to take the mens B final in a thrilling encounter.
In the C section the Sligo brother and sister pairing of Katie and John Hennessy took the Mixed C section and will be swiftly moving up to the B section. They are looking forward to taking on other relatives next year in what will have to be named the Hennessy mixed doubles section.
James Doyle and Mark Tully took the Mens C doubles, and have been a terrific combination in both club championships and West of Ireland over the last three years.
Captain Liam Farrell thanked George and Jo Mullan of SIS Group for the generous support, as well as Dermot Mc Dermott who continued as co-sponsor.
All in all, the 2012 West was deemed a very successfull event by both local and visiting players, and is a tribute to the Sligo Tennis Club which continues to go from strength to strength.