DCU overcome Trinity in local derby

Eoin Harte

Sean McCullagh in action for Ireland last year.

The DCU men’s tennis team won the 2019 National Irish Intervarsities, beating their rivals Trinity College in the final.

Trinity College had won the tournament the last three years in a row, beating DCU in the final each time.

Conor Reilly, chairperson of the DCU Tennis Club and captain of the men’s team, spoke to The College View about how happy they were to finally get one over Trinity.

“Oh yeah it was a big rivalry alright.

“We organised the whole event. We hosted, organised and went on to win the event so it was a big deal,” Reilly explained.

Reilly and the treasurer of the Tennis Club Noel Fleming organised the event themselves, which was hosted in the Glasnevin Lawn Tennis Club and in the National Tennis Camp.

“There was a whole lot of stuff in the lead up we had to organise, balls, courts prizes, awards, things like that, so it was a big build up and about three months of planning went into it,” Reilly said.

Team tennis consists of six players on each team, each of which will play a singles match and then go on to play three doubles matches.

Whoever wins at least five of the nine matches wins the tie. The six singles matches are usually played at the same time and if one team wins at least five of those the doubles matches will not be played.

Reilly explained that it can be both exciting and distracting having other matches being played at the same time around you, that are crucial to your own success.

“Yeah you’re constantly watching like, are you winning?”

The final went right down to the wire, with the final doubles match deciding the tie.

“We played our six singles matches in the final and it was 3-3 after that. So it went to the doubles which is another three matches. We lost our first doubles so it was 4-3 to Trinity.

“We won the second doubles so it was 4-4 so it came down to the deciding match and it went to 4-4 in the third set. There was probably about 200 people watching it and DCU won it 6-4 in the final set,” Reilly said.

The stand out player for DCU was Sean McCullagh, winning every match he played in during the tournament.

McCullagh previously represented Ireland in the World University Games, bringing the side to a best ever finish in fourth place.

The women’s team were also in action at the intervarsities, making it to the final before being beaten 5-3 by UCD.

Reilly said the success of the two teams was largely down to the work put in by the club coach, Jaime Pilkington.

“He was our coach and has been for the last twenty years so he was really helpful in the organisation of teams and coaching throughout the year. He was a big help this year.”

That’s it for competitive university tennis for the college year but DCU can look back and be happy with what they have achieved this year.

Eoin Harte

Image Credit: Etienne Jeanneret