Minister of State Jack Chambers visited Claremorris Tennis Club to see the new extension of an indoor tennis court that was funded by sports capital grants and a loan from Clann Credo. Pictured are Tracey Hannon, John Ruane, Kevin Allsopp, Gavin Reapy, Fran Kane, Minister Jack Chambers, Benoist Lussan, Lisa Ruane and Suzanne Harris. PHOTOS: ALISON LAREDO

Claremorris Tennis Club unveils new indoor court

MINISTER of State for Sport Jack Chambers was in attendance in Claremorris Tennis Club to officially unveil the opening of their state of the art indoor court, writes Nathan Guilfoyle.

With warm weather welcomingly returning across Ireland, many people are looking to the outdoors to spend their days. Whether it is the likes of golf, tennis, or other outdoor sports, traditionally we heavily rely on the weather being suitable to participate in certain activities.

Claremorris Tennis Club are combating the reliance on Mother Nature, however, recently opening a new state of the art indoor tennis court. The court is inside a concrete structure, ensuring that the tennis being played in Claremorris doesn’t have to be reliant on the weather, which allows for the prospect of tennis played all year round.

It is the only facility of its kind in the west of Ireland, with the caveat of the building being a permanent structure, unlike some of the temporary outdoor domes across Connacht. The club are estimating the court to last at least 50 years, without the constant maintenance that alternative structures require.

The facility was a community driven project, lasting just over two years. Much of the planning and development was done over the likes of Zoom during lockdowns, which added an extra challenge to proceedings.

Construction began in November 2021, overseen by indoor project coordinator John Roe, and was completed around the Easter holidays. The project was financed at a cost of €250,000, with a healthy mix of fundraising, grants and loans allowing for construction.

Minister for Sport and Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers was in attendance to unveil the new court. As part of the Sports Capital Grant programme, the government funded €80,000 towards the project.

The minister was in a gleeful mood as part of his visit to the west of Ireland, where he attended various venues across the county. The TD, whose mother hails from Hollymount, was confident the facility could be a benchmark for the rest of the province.

At the cost of €10 for non-members, and €6 for members, 75 minutes is a very affordable and fair price.

"I’m delighted to visit Claremorris and see the new court officially unveiled. I attended the turning of the sod over the winter and it is astonishing to see the progress that has been made. Hopefully we can continue to provide facilities into the west of Ireland, and breathe new life into the province," said Minister Chambers.

The court was envisioned by club chairman Benoit Lusson, who was determined to expand the club’s facilities and add a new dimension to the club.

"We first had the idea of an indoor court for competitions and to help with running coaching camps for kids. There were too many days where we had to cancel lessons because of the weather. Now we have a great facility, along with our four outdoor courts, that if the rain does come during coaching or an inter-club competition, we don’t have to cancel, we can go straight into the indoor court."

The club fundraised €50,000 by themselves, combined with the grants and a loan worth €120,000 from Clann Credo, a business that looks to provide facilities for local communities.

So what’s the next step for the club? Club PRO Adrian Walsh is delighted with how the court is looking, and is in no rush.

"We are delighted where we are at the minute. The new indoor court can allow for interclub tournaments and events. This court can provide expansion and bring new members from across the land into the club.

"We are looking to be working at a sustainable level, and take a break from planning and developing for the time being. Building a court is a tough racket, but I think we’ve aced it."

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