This article was written by Conor O Callaghan, Regional Development Officer for Munster Tennis.

 Tennis in Cork

Tennis is thriving in Cork. It is widely believed that competition drives every sport on. However the most important aspect of competition is ‘Appropriate’ competition. Many of the clubs in the Cork region are becoming very innovative in finding different formats in order to accommodate all of their players and all of the standards in their clubs. Listed below are some of the competition opportunities for players in the cork region and their participation in them.

Senior Tennis

Internal Club Competitions

Almost every club in the Cork region runs many different forms of internal competitions. They range from singles to doubles to mixed doubles. Many internal competitions also take place where you might have a more experienced player with a less experienced player. The club members get a great kick out of these competitions and are also vital for their development and also social development which is just as important in order to create a good environment in the club.

Winter League

The winter league is a league event run by the Munster Branch. This competition has been running for a number of years and has proved to be very successful. It caters for all 6 Grades. Many people associate tennis as a summer sport, however there is a very busy schedule through out the winter period.

Cork Teams have always featured strongly in this league team competition. This year there were a total of 27 Munster clubs entered. Entries from the Cork region included, Mallow, Bandon, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Rushbrooke, Lakewood, Sundays Well, Bishopstown, Carrigaline, Douglas, Ballinlough, Ballyhooley and Lower Aghada.
Many of these clubs would enter a number of teams in the different grades which is great to see.

International Tennis Number

Something also to look out for in Cork and also through out the country is the development of the International Tennis Number (ITN). The ITN is an international tennis number that represents a player’s general level of play. In time it is hoped that every tennis player world wide will have an ITN.

Under this system players will be rated from ITN 1 – ITN 10. ITN 1 represents a very high level player (holding an ATP/WTA ranking or of an equivalent playing standard) and ITN is a player that is starting to play competitively (can serve and return) on a full court using an ITF approved ball.

If you or your club require any further details of the ITN please contact your club coach or you can also contact Conor O Callaghan at
cpoc1@hotmail.com.

All the information can be found at www.itftennis.com/itn

Junior Tennis

Junior Tennis is also in a very good position. Once again we have listed many of the competitions available to juniors in the region of Cork. Many of the below tournaments and competitions are run by the clubs and also by Munster Branch.

Tennis 10’s

Tennis 10s is tennis competition for players aged 10 and under.

The ITF recommend that players aged 10 and under do not train or play competition with a regular yellow ball on a full court, but instead train and compete with a Red, Orange or Green ball on the appropriate sized court.

Using these slower balls will help players to develop the most efficient technique, and to implement advanced tactics, that in most cases could not be performed using the yellow ball on the full court.

Tennis 10s is part of the ITF’s ‘Tennis…Play and Stay’ campaign. All information on the Play and Stay Campaign can be found at http://www.tennisplayandstay.com/

Regional/Provincial Match plays

Regional and Provincial match plays take place through out the country in a number of different regions. Munster is broken up into three regions, Cork, Waterford and Limerick and further more broken down into age groups Under 10/12/14 and 16. There is a winter match play series comprising of regionals, provincials and national match play and also a spring match play series comprising of the same format.

Successful players from the Cork region go through to the Provincial round of matches and if successful at this level the player progresses to the Nations Match Play where they will play against the other top players in the country. All under 10 players start this series at the provincial stage and any player who enters automatically qualify for the National match play event. This initiative is part of the Tennis 10’s Campaign and is aimed at introducing and keeping players at a young age in the sport.

This series of match plays is very important in a player’s progression and there have been many Cork players who have proved to be very successful on this route and have gone on to represent Ireland.

Primary and Secondary School Competitions

There is also a very successful schools competition running in the Munster Region. Once again this event is run by the Munster Branch and Cork is very well represented.

In 2009 there were 34 schools in total with representations from Presentations Brothers College, Christian Brothers College, Scoil Mhuire, St. Angelas, St. Aloysius Carrigtwohill, Kinsale Community School, Carrigaline Community School, Patrician Academy Mallow. Colaiste Mhuire Cobh, Mount Mercy, St. Mary’s Mallow, Douglas Community School, Ursulines Blackrock and Christ the King Turners Cross.

In the Primary Schools, Cork was represented by St. Brendans the Glen, St. Patricks BNS Mallow, St. Patricks Whitechurch, Scoil Barra Beaumont, Scoil an Spioraid Naomh Cailini Bishopstown, St. Columba’s National School Douglas, St. Catherines NS, Beaumont GNS, Bunscoil Mhuire Youghal, Gaelscoil Ui Riada Bishopstown, Rushbrooke NS, St. Josephs NS Cobh, Rathan NS Mallow.

Winter Team Competitions

Wilson Cup and KBS Cup

Good fun with a competitive edge, and the need to keep our juniors interested during off-season, was the inspiration for the formation of both the Wilson (formerly Casey Cup), and KBS (formerly OK cup) Junior competitions. Both have being going strong now since the early 90’s and was the brainchild of founder members of Carrigaline Tennis Club who still oversees the running of both events annually.

The Wilson cup is a team event for under 12’s and under 14’s while the KBS is for the under 16 age group. The success of both events has been based on the theme of fairness and this has been managed by controlling the entrants each year. Both are effectively winter leagues for juniors but who may be a level below Munster squad status, so previous years tournaments winners will be excluded from playing to ensure that those who do take part have a fair chance at doing well in their event. If we can achieve this every year, then our hope will be more kids encouraged to stay playing tennis in addition to the many other sports they will experience in the early years of life.

The Wilson Cup runs from Late November to May each year and the KBS runs from March through May. The finals for both events are hosted at Carrigaline Tennis club every year just after our GSK singles tournament on the May weekend. We have been delighted with the success of both events over the years and look forward to being involved with Junior Tennis in Cork for many more years to come.

Summer Team Competitions

The Munster Branch runs a number of summer team competitions. These competitions range from under 10 up to under 16. You have the Under 10 BDO Simpson Xavier Team Challenge Cup, the Under 12 Maher’s Sports Cup and also the Munster Cup under 14 and the Munster Cup under 16.

Cork teams also have a strong tradition in these competitions and this year the following Cork clubs entered teams in the different age groups, Youghal, Bishopstown, Rushbrooke, Kilworth, Lower Aghada, St. Michaels, Bandon, Whitechurch, Sundays Well and Mallow.

Coaching in Cork Clubs

Junior Coaching is thriving in all clubs in the Cork region. All ages and standards are catered for and the coaching year is generally broken down into three terms. Term 1 generally starts mid September and runs until mid December. Term 2 starts in early January and runs until the Easter holidays, and Finally the third term starts immediately after the Easter break and runs until early to mid June.

Munster Branch Coaching in the Cork Region

The Munster Branch also operates squad coaching in the Cork Region. The idea behind this is to get interested and talented children together at the weekends from a number of different clubs so that they can train together. It is essential that the children attend their Club coaching programmes during the week and then if they have certain criteria they may be asked to join the Branch Programmes for further experience.

There are 4 Satellite regions in the Cork area which cater for children form the ages of 6 to 10 . The satellite sessions are based in North Cork (Mallow Tennis Club), East Cork (Rushbrooke Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club), West Cork (Bishopstown Tennis Club) and finally Cork City (Sundays Well Boating & Tennis Club). Squads are also available for children over the age of 10 in Rushbrooke Tennis Club.

In conclusion, the evidence from above shows that tennis in the Cork region is flying high. It is very important for every member of every club to help and support their clubs in whatever way they can so we can continue to build the sport.