Leixlip Tennis Club hosted a fun charity competition in aid of Cystinosis Ireland on 27 December 2023 which was open to players of all abilities from any club.
The weather was a major challenge on the day and although the competition was due to start at 11am, a call had to be made at 10.30am on whether it could go ahead at all due to the persistent rainfall throughout the night. After a court inspection though and the forecast showing a short dry spell, the Leixlip Tennis Club Committee made the call that it could go ahead. A lot of calls were being received from clubs in surrounding areas and the Committee did not want to disappoint.
Competition entries were open from just before 11am and with a large group of eager players looking to work off the turkey dinners, we were delighted to welcome players from Clane, Celbridge, North Kildare and even Hazelwood in Cork in addition to the many players from Leixlip Tennis Club who turned out despite the weather.
Keith and Sharon Ashmore and Des Bradley were on hand to manage the draws and get the players on court and turn around the rounds in quick succession. They had great support with different players pulling names out of the hat for all rounds of the competition.
A minimum €10 donation ensured each player was entered into the competition which consisted of timed mixed and doubles matches, where everybody played in different timed rounds having their names drawn out of a hat for each round. The generosity of attendees was overwhelming with many donating much more than the suggested €10 attendance fee.
Unfortunately the weather decided to interfere with play during the fourth round. In order to play tennis in Ireland you have to be hardy so despite a heavy downpour the players finished out the round in very wet conditions and some got a real soaking. The rain was relentless though and this meant that the courts became very unplayable very quickly and a decision was made to stop the competition after the fourth round. Thankfully there were enough rounds played to make the competition meaningful and the scoring was averaged out to determine the results.
In joint third place were Alvaro Blasco from Leixlip and Clodagh Byrne from Celbridge. In second place was Sarah Brennan from Clane. This year, the winner was Nicola McKenna from Leixlip Tennis Club. She was presented with the perpetual Christmas Charity trophy and she will be immortalised at Leixlip Tennis Club with her name engraved for all to see.
A fantastic sum of €800 was raised by all of the participants and this amount was very generously matched by club member Alvaro Blasco, Principal Solicitor at Blasco Solicitors in Maynooth. To find out more about Blasco Solicitors, visit their website here. The amount raised was further supplemented by the Leixlip Tennis Club, to bring the total to €2,000, all of which will be donated to Cystinosis Ireland.
Cystinosis is a rare, multisystem genetic disorder characterised by the accumulation of an amino acid called cystine in different tissues and organs of the body including the kidneys, eyes, muscles, liver, pancreas and brain. Very little is known about this disease, which unfortunately is also reflected in the challenges the charity receives with its fundraising efforts. As we have a player from our club whose grandson is affected by this disease, it was a unanimous decision by the Leixlip Tennis Club Committee that this year’s event should be dedicated to this worthwhile charity. To find out more about Cystinosis Ireland, visit their website here.
Arriving players and visitors were treated to the wonderful smell of mulled wine brewing in the kitchen (Brian and Patricia Donohoe hold the secret recipe). There was tea and coffee on offer and a large selection of snacks, mince pies and sandwiches which could be enjoyed during breaks from court play while also checking up on their competition progress which were shown on the large screen in the club house.
The club was very lucky to have Annie Dowling, Brian and Patricia Donohoe, Sharon Ashmore, Sean Kavanagh and Des Bradley who rolled up their sleeves and jumped into action buttering bread and keeping the hungry players well-fed. They even managed to sneak off to Lidl to purchase extra supplies at various points during the day ensuring nobody would be left hungry.
As an added bonus for attendees, a raffle ticket was handed out to each participant. The club had received a variety of donated prizes in advance which were to be raffled off at the end of the competition. Many thanks to Reflex Physiotherapy, Leixlip for donating vouchers for the raffle. The generosity of guests and players to the tournament was astounding. By the end of the registration, we had enough spot prizes to ensure that everyone would be drawn in the raffle.
Speaking at the event, Leixlip Tennis Club Chairman thanked everyone for playing in such great spirits both during, despite some getting very wet and for the amazing generosity in support of a charity that is very close to the hearts of club stalwart, Sean Kavanagh. He also paid tribute to Brian and Patricia Donohoe, not only for once again providing some amazing mulled wine to all but for their legacy in supporting the charity event every year for as long as we can remember. They started this annual charity event many years ago and it would not be still going strong without their continued support. The event has raised tens of thousands Euro over the years and this is a valuable legacy to Leixlip Tennis Club and all of the charities supported along the way.