Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Tennis club rebirth imminent

When Eamonn O'Toole organised a public meeting on the re-booting of Kilcullen Tennis Club last May, he got a strong response, and was hopeful of a summer reopening, writes Brian Byrne.

Well, he slightly missed summer, but it’s now looking like the first refurbished hard court will be open next week. And there will also be two grass practice courts, which Eamonn is pictured working on last night.

“They may not be the best surface for a while, but they will be in place,” he told the Diary. “Getting to this stage has taken a bit longer than I hoped, but we’re almost there.”

The rear hard court has been cleaned up and painted with a special finish, and the front one will get the same treatment as soon as new poles have been erected to hold the high fence between the club and a private property.

“Once we get things in action, there will be a surge in interest,” says Eamonn, who first began thinking about the project three years ago. “I’m sure already that we will probably be over-subscribed quickly.”

Kilcullen Development Association — which supported the formation of the original Tennis Club in the same place back in the 1950s — has provided a terms-free loan to get things moving. A number of local businesses have pledged sponsorship amounting to several thousands of euro, and a development plan is in train to add two more hard courts, and a sheltered viewing area.

As Eamonn and I spoke last evening, there was a certain spiritual closing of a circle, with the news yesterday of the death of Jim Motherway in Perth, Western Australia. Jim and his wife Lucy were stalwarts of the original club back in the early 1960s. Jim has passed on, but one of his key Kilcullen interests is undergoing a rebirth, about which he would be very pleased.