Dublin University Lawn Tennis Club (DULTC) have capped a string of successful seasons with an appearance at the European University Tennis Tournament in Monaco, held from the 7th to the 9th of October. As their membership continues to grow, the club feels their participation at the tournament will help them go from strength to strength in coming seasons.
The Trinity men’s team had a defining season during 2015/2016. In winning the men’s floodlight league (running from September to December) and the annual Intervarsity tournament in Cork, they confirmed their place at the top of the Irish tennis ladder. The women’s team fared almost as well, finishing runner-up in the Intervarsity tournament. Both teams have benefitted from a new-found strength in depth, and can also lay claim to some of Ireland’s top senior players.
By virtue of their exploits last year, Trinity were invited to participate alongside a number of other european universities in an annual tournament held in the principality. The team featured six travelling players, selected on merit. The top two ranked returning male players, Dan O’Neill and Luke Maguire joined Trinity’s number-one ranked female player, Janeen Laabei. Trinity’s men and women’s captains, Bill Jennings and Marie-Louise O’ Callaghan, also travelled in a playing capacity.
The tournament comprised a group format with the top two teams from each group of three progressing to the semi-final stage. Trinity’s were drawn to face HEC of Lausanne, Switzerland and Koln University from Germany. Each tie would consist of a men and women’s singles as well as a mixed doubles match in the event of a dead heat. The setting: The world-renowned Monte Carlo Country Club, scene of the annual ATP Monte Carlo Masters, a tournament synonymous with clay-court tennis and indeed, Rafael Nadal.
Trinity began their campaign against HEC of Lausanne, securing a 2-1 victory with a women’s singles and mixed doubles victory. The importance of the first tie in the group format meant that Trinity were now firmly in the driving seat in the pursuit of qualification. On Friday October 7th, Trinity suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Koln University, but Koln’s victory against HEC meant that Trinity had qualified for the semis.
A day later, Trinity were slated to face a Swiss team, St Gallen’s University, eventually going down 2-0 in spite of O’Neill and Labbei’s best efforts. A subsequent loss in the 3rd-4th place playoff to local rivals DCU did nothing to spoil the team’s enjoyment. The team attended a presentation, hosted by the Baroness of Monaco, in recognition of their participation. The tournament acted as a great yardstick against which to measure Trinity’s progress and the feeling among the players is that this will act as a springboard for future growth and success within the club.
This season, Trinity’s men have started off with a perfect 3-0 record in their first three ties in the floodlight league. Bill Jennings, Trinity’s men’s captain, speaking to The University Times via email, said “Our goal for this season is to retain the floodlight league title we won last year as well as the Intervarsity title”.
DULTC has seen a considerable increase in the number of members for the current year. The club caters for all levels, running weekly training sessions and tournament throughout the course of the year. The club has started off the year on a positive note and as the hosts of this years Intervarsity tournament, the hope is that last year’s achievements can be replicated or indeed bettered.