Lower Aghada Tennis Club is in existence since 1917, we celebrate our 100 year anniversary this year.
The club originally played in the Careystown area.
The place where Aghada Tennis Club now exists is still referred to by older local people as “the Yanks’ Pier”. During World War I, when Ireland was under British rule, the Americans built a seaplane facility at the place and the sloping cement slipway between the tennis courts and the sea was used for the launching of seaplanes.
Following the departure of the Americans at the end of World War 1 this very large concrete apron was available, where the sea-plane base once stood, at Lower Aghada. When the estate lands of Aghada were divided following independence the sea-plane base was one of the properties which came “uder the hammer”.
An enterprising local group acquired the property for the sum of £10 and Lower Aghada Tennis Club was born. Tennis continued to be played through the decades with the club having the usual “ups and downs”. Through World War 2 and depression years of the 1950’s the club struggled, but the Trojan efforts of a few dedicated people such as Dick Haslam and Michael Cuddigan kept the club “afloat”.
The absence of records doe the period precludes us from mentioning many others who, I am sure, played a very significant role in the running of this lovely club. In 1956 a small club-house was added. This was rebuilt when the new road to Whitegate ran through at this point many years later. The leisure boom of the sixties brought many new members to the club.
In 1979 three courts were built and in 1980 another court was added. Therough the 1980’s the club was the ‘flagship’ of Irish Tennis. It was the first rural club in Ireland to install tournament standard floodlighting, it ran some of the more prestigious tournaments and its players competed at the highest level. The culmination of this work was the construction of an ultra-modern clubhouse in the late 1980’s. Two people, in particular, are associated with this great era of development; Billy Flynn and Miceal Kennefick.
Development has continued through the years with the addition of a children’s court, upgrades to the club house, resurfacing of the courts and installation of new lights. Up to One Million Euro has been invested in the club to date.
The most recent development was formally opened 29th March 2015 by Minister Michael Ring T.D. This mammoth project involved resurfacing all 6 courts, reconstruction of courts 5 & 6, reconstruction of half court 4, putting all electrical services underground, complete re-design and installation of new floodlights.
The Development Committee consisted of Mr. Michael O Brien (Project Manager), Mr. Billy Flynn (Government Grant Co-ordinator), Mr. Gerard Sheehan (Electrical Project Manager) and Hon. Treasurer Maureen Jaworska (Financial Controller). As a result of their detailed organization and planning the project was completed on time and within budget. The total spend of €200,000 would not have been possible but for the provision of €40,000 National Lottery Funding for which we are very grateful.
The official opening was attended by a huge crowd together with local Dail Deputies Mr. David Stanton and Ms. Sandra McLellan together with County Councillors Mr Pat Buckley, Mr. Noel Collins, Mr. Michael Hegarty, Ms. Susan McCarthy and a host of Community and Sporting leaders including Mr. Joe Power, President of the Munster Branch of Tennis Ireland.
Lower Aghada Tennis and Sailing Club can be proud to have played such a pivitol part in the social and recreational development of this parish.