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Westport tennis ace wins big


IN FULL FLIGHT Eoghan Jennings is pictured in action at Fitzwilliam last week.

IN what can only be described as a red-letter day for Westport Tennis Club, Eoghan Jennings claimed the under-14 boys singles title in the William Fry Junior Lawn Tennis Championships of Ireland at Fitzwilliam last weekend.
Seeded number 1, he did not exactly come out of nowhere, but he did put in a strong campaign, winning all his matches without dropping a set.
In the final he faced number two seed Zac Naughton (County Wicklow Lawn Tennis Club). Their previous meeting, in the national indoors final, saw Naughton claim a win in three sets so Jennings was not short of motivation to turn the tables.
Naughton got off to a flyer, taking a 4/1 lead in the first set, before Jennings found his rhythm to reel off five games in a row, taking the set. The second one was even closer with Jennings winning the tie break game 7-5 to take the set 7/6 and the match by 2-0.
His week at Fitzwilliam also saw him partner Christine Connolly (Carrickmines) to the final of the mixed doubles and Naughton to the final of the boys’ doubles.
Jennings has had an exceptionally good 2022 so far.
While dominating the under 14 category he has also collected titles at under 16 and under 18 and he represented Ireland at under 15 in the European Youth Olympics and the European Summer cups.
Interestingly, Jennings is not the first Mayo player to lift an Irish Open title.
In previous years, Shauna Heffernan (Claremorris, under-14, 2014), Daniel Glancy (Castlebar, under 18, 2006) and Warren Atkins (Castlebar, under 14, 2001) all claimed the winner’s slot. Also interestingly, all four were coached by Garett Barry. Well done, Garett!
No doubt you enjoyed this latest success just as much as the previous ones.
From a Connacht perspective, it is also a pleasure to note that Cliona Walsh (Sligo Tennis Club) won the under 18 girls’ title making it two wins for the province from the eight singles events this year.
Eoghan Jennings is a very exciting prospect in Irish tennis.
The sport is a demanding one and frequently delivers more dinner times than dinners. Competing from a base in Mayo places significant demands on the individual and his family. Combining tennis at an elite level with the demands of schooling at St. Gerald’s College in Castlebar requires an aptitude for keeping all the plates spinning.
Maybe the school should take a bow as well?  His parents Padraic and Ciara can be rightly proud of Eoghan, but should give themselves and the rest of their clan a pat on the back too.

Paul Bree


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