DCU Tennis prove they are top of the pack yet again

DCU clinched their second consecutive men’s intervarsities title last month, beating UCD in the final 5-3.

The reigning champions looked in good form heading into the final recording victories over UCC and Queens University Belfast already in the competition.

Their final obstacle was a young UCD side that had just come off the back of an impressive previous round victory over Trinity College Dublin.

DCU have enjoyed some good form in the men’s intervarsities, winning eight of the last 10, six of which were consecutive victories.

Head coach Jamie Pilkington said he isn’t surprised at the level of success that the team has enjoyed.

“We won the [class one] Leinster title five years ago. There are a lot of things we’ve won and not that we haven’t gotten recognition for it, but people don’t seem to realise how much we’ve achieved.

“We play in the Leinster league and that’s not just universities. That’s against some of the best teams in the province. We’ve been up against the likes of Donnybrook and Landsdowne [Lawn Tennis Clubs] for probably the last seven years.”

Mik Lynch and Jack Hughes got the Glasnevin side off to a winning start, claiming victory in the first men’s doubles match against UCD number one pairing Stephen Martin and Rory Curtis.

David Sutherland and Alan Bowden couldn’t make the most DCU’s advantage and lost the second round match.

DCU, however, secured the win heading into the singles events. Liam Byrne and Phillip Sheehan proved too strong for the third seed pair of Ben Dillon and Ross Hurley.

Lynch, playing as the top seed for DCU men’s singles, got the team off to a strong start romping to victory in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

UCD fought back claiming victories in the fifth and sixth positions, Dillon and Curtis overcoming Sutherland and Bowden in their respective fixtures.

But an outstanding performance from Byrne, rallying from 5-2 in his third set tie breaker against Eoin McGovern, was enough to hand DCU the momentum.

He picked up eight consecutive points to win the match and turn the tie in the Glasnevin side’s favour.

It all rested on Hughes to bring home a second consecutive title for DCU and he didn’t disappoint, dispatching Hurley 6-0 in the deciding set.

The preparation, it seems, is one of the key factors to the club’s impressive victory.

“The lads trained at 6.30am three days a week and we’ve travelled to play at least three times outside of Ireland.
“I think playing at a premier class event every week really helps the guys, so when you’ve got the momentum going into the singles [events] it takes some of the pressure off.

“The lads all know each other, they know how to root for each other and most importantly they know how to fight for each other.”

The win means that Pilkington’s squad are now eligible international university competitions this summer.

The event, which took place in the Lawn Tennis Club in Galway, hosted 150 students from around the country.

Cian Roche

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