Smyth misses out on singles title, but retains doubles

Some 100 tennis players contested this year’s Connacht Open, moved from its traditional date in October to the June Bank Holiday weekend.

Hosted by the Galway Lawn Tennis Club, local players dominated this year’s event with strong performances in all categories.

Singles champion Justin Clarke from Australia, now an Irish citizen, retained his title with a comprehensive 6-1 6-1 victory over local favourite Mark Smyth of Knocknacarra.

However Smyth, who is currently head coach at Omagh Tennis Club, returned home to retain his doubles title with Al Waterson in the undoubted match of the day on Bank Holiday Monday.

In a tense battle between the GLTC pair and James Crowe and CJ Kelly from Limerick, the three-setter ended in a tie-break finish.

Marion Hanley collected another Connacht crown, sweeping all opposition aside and defeating Ann-Marie Darcy (Nenagh ) 3&3 in the ladies’ final. The Barna native then partnered Francis O’Connell to the mixed final which they lost in a close match. 7-6 6-3, to top seeds Alan McCormack and Niamh Burke from Sligo. GLTC player O’Connell contested the B singles final but he lost another tight battle with Dermot Dolan (Sligo ) 7-5 6-2.

There was more local success when Rita Halloran captured the B title with a three- set victory over Lisa Lyons (Donnybrook ), who then joined her mother Denise Lyons (Carrickmines ) to overcome Helen Lawless and Olivia Deely (dual GLTC and Loughrea members ) in a tough three-setter, 6-1 4-6 6-3, to clinch the B doubles.

The C title, played in a round-robin format, went to Niamh Gavin and Sinead O Donoghue (Castlebar ), while the men’s B doubles title was won by Robert Johnson (Ballinasloe and Loughrea ) and Mike Geraghty (GLTC ) - the pair’s second Connacht Open title and third open doubles triumph. They had a dogged battle with Adrian Reilly and Paul Royston (Loughrea ), while Reilly also lost the C singles final at the hands of Mahmoud Giumaa in three sets and was forced to retire injured at 5-7 4-4 in the doubles final.

An all-local battle in the final of the B mixed doubles saw Brendan Murtagh and Serena Silke defeat Gerry Smyth and Helen Lawless in yet another three-setter, 6-4 6-7 6-2.

In the C mixed doubles Patrick Conlon and Josie Connaughton from Loughrea beat siblings Fran and Ger Keane (Claremorris and GLTC ) 6-4 7-6.

There were plate victories for Deirdre Byrnes (GLTC ) and Richard Duggan (Mount Pleasant ) in the C mixed doubles, while Tadgh O Conghaile (GLTC ) agus Orla Ni Sheaghdha (Mount Pleasant ) won the B event.

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