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Dundalk Tennis Club’s Ruth Copas

TENNIS | Copas goes close at National Tennis Championships

Dundalk Tennis Club was well represented at the Tennis Ireland National Championships which were held over the Christmas period.

Junior and senior players from the club’s performance academies, led by head coach and former Davis Cup professional John McGahon, were in action at both events.

Irish Fed Cup player Ruth Copas stole the show at the Shared Access National Senior Indoor Championships with a blistering performance in Riverview, marching to the latter stages without conceding a single set.

Copas, who is currently on a scholarship at the University of New Mexico, went into the event as the number two seed for the event behind Romanian WTA Karola Benjaru, who is based at the National Tennis Academy in DCU.

Despite being hit with a virus beforehand, 20-year-old Copas dispatched her counterparts one by one, beating Hannah May Morrisey 6–1, 6–1 in her first round match before defeating Isabella Browne with a flawless 6–0, 6–0 in the second.

In the quarter finals, Ruth defeated Anna Jones from Mullingar 7–5, 6–2 before seeing off Georgia Lilly Browne 6–4, 6–2 to book her place in the final against full-time player Benjenaru.

This was the third time that the two players came face to face over the previous 12 months with the Romanian running out 6–4, 6–1 winner to claim the title and edge 2–1 ahead of Ruth in their head-to-head battle.

“It was another great week for Ruth,” said head coach John McGahon. “She has had a sensational spell over the last two years, winning two national titles, securing an Irish Fed Cup position, a top place on her university team in New Mexico and reaching another championship final.”

Memorable fortnight for Maria

Marie Perla Biansumba

Elsewhere, 17-year-old Marie Perla Biansumba reached the last four in both the junior and senior indoor championships.

Marie recorded a big three set win, 1–6, 7–6, 6–3, over 2017 Dundalk ITF champion and Irish Fed Cup player Sophia Derivan and was unfortunate not to secure a place in the junior final which was held at Westwood Tennis Centre in Leopardstown.

Despite winning the first set, Marie was beaten by the the eventual winner of the junior event, Shauna Heffernan, on a 5–2, 6–7, 3–6 scoreline.

Biansumba completed her national indoor campaign with a runners-up spot in the Ladies Doubles section. Partnering Ciara O’Toole, they were beaten 4–6, 6–4, 8–10 by Carragh Courtney and Alison O’Dea in the final.

Underage round-up

In the U12 Girls, 10-year-old Juliette Carroll Breen broke into the top 32 by winning 6–2, 6–0 against Tegan Long before losing 4–6, 1–6 to Rachel Deegan.

In the U14 Girls event, Claudia Mullen was defeated by Zoe Bracken 5–7, 3–6 and Hollie Collins lost to Julia Timotin in straight sets. Zara Burns defeated Ella Burke and Kelly O’Rourke before succumbing to Alannah Wilkinson in a three-set thriller 2-6, 7–6, 3–6.

In the U14 Boys section, Jack Darcy was defeated by Patrick McGrath but Zofia Mullen reached the last 16 of the Girls U16 event by defeating Amber Young 7–6, 6–3 before being defeated by number five seed Katie Loughrey.

Amberlie Collins lost to Lauren Johnson in the Girls U16 event while Nina Hjalmers defeated Sarah Al Mukhaizeem before being defeated by Olywn Ryan Bovey. In the U18 Girls last 16, Anna Mai Mullen lost to Anna O’Farrell.

In the Boys events, Devon Callan was defeated by Matthew Thornton 4–6, 2–6 and Adam Plunkett lost to Adebola Abosoto.

Cathal Butler defeated Cillian Reidy 6–1, 6–3 before dumping the number five seed, Conor Johnson, out only to succumb to number two seed Ammar Elamin in the semis.

Former U16 national champion — and U18 Boys number four seed Oisin Murtagh — was defeated in his first round match against Johnathan Garcia.

Shane Gaffney defeated Matthew Cleere and booked himself a spot in the quarter finals of the championships by winning 6–0, 6–1 against Mark Griffin from Cork 6–0, 6–1 before being defeated by Oisin Shaffery.

Overall, the representation of the Dundalk Tennis Academy was up there with the best in the country. The local academy has produced multiple provincial, national and international champions over the past decade, a feature not to be underestimated.

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