UNDER COVER The Claremorris tennis courts pictured recently under a covering of snow.
UNCERTAINTY might be lingering over 2021 like a bad odour, but it isn’t preventing Claremorris Tennis Club from pursuing some ambitious new plans.
Like most sporting disciplines throughout the country, tennis was governed by lockdowns. But it was able to provide some respite to players when courts were allowed to stay open during Level 1-3.
Play on outdoor courts is always the mercy of Mother Nature, but this year Claremorris Tennis Club hopes to eradicate that variable with the construction of a new, state-of-the-art indoor playing facility.
“Our main plan in 2021 is to break ground on the construction of our new court and to schedule as many social and sporting events as government restriction will permit,” Club PRO Adrian Walsh told The Mayo News.
“We are on the cusp of electing a brand-new committee within the club, which will undoubtedly inject fresh enthusiasm and verve into our club’s constant development, and we’d also like to thank our wonderful outgoing committee.”
Not being able to host regular tournaments or the club championships had a major impact on the club’s finances for 2020 and ultimately impacted their plans for a bigger future.
“We have definitely found it a challenge to secure support from regular fundraising avenues with the current pandemic,” Walsh admits, “but our efforts are slowly nearing us to our funding goal.”
There was one benefit from the pandemic: the rise in membership numbers.
“Although 2020 has been extremely challenging for the club, we were buoyed up by the fantastic support of our longstanding members and were thrilled to introduce many eager new members who have joined the club largely because of the pandemic,” Walsh revealed.
“Last year was disastrous for so many families, businesses and communities, but we have tried our best to bring as much joy as possible to as many as possible by facilitating the community with the sport we love.
“The lack of club championships and regular tournaments has definitely made it a lot more difficult. Luckily, we have found that with many people having returned from the cities to work from home in Claremorris, they have ensured our steady growth and given the club’s dedicated committee the impetus to continue striving toward our next big milestone.”
Walsh added that the feedback from members throughout the pandemic suggested that playing tennis was a massive boost both mentally and physically for people.
Now, when the gates are locked and people are not able to mingle, communication within a club can become more difficult. Hard as it may be, it’s not stopping the committee continuing to work hard to make sure 2021 can be successful for the club.
They know community sport is massive for small clubs, and this year, as they look to expand, they’re calling on everyone to really rally together.
“Truth be told, it has been tough to keep members engaged in the club during the strict lockdowns because there is no play allowed,” he said. “Tennis is a non-contact and distanced sport benefitting from being one of the first to be opened back up after the various lockdowns. However this has proven little comfort during periods when our rackets were stowed away along with our sweat bands, balls and half-worn tennis shoes.
“Despite this, we are coping remarkably well as a club and are working extremely hard behind the scenes to grow membership numbers, organise post lockdown events – both social and competitive – and fundraise for our state-of-the-art indoor facility where we hope the people of Claremorris will soon enjoy some physical exercise.
“Tennis remains a fringe sport in this country, and even more so in the west. It is our hope that we can work hand in glove with our membership, community, neighbouring clubs and supporters to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic stronger and better than ever.”