NEWLY elected Lower Aghada Tennis & Sailing Club Chairperson Paul Prendergast has had a challenging opening few weeks to his first year in the hot seat.
Paul stepped up from the vice chairman's role at the recent club AGM and like all other sporting administrators, he has seen many of the committee's ambitious plans put on hold due to the current Covid 19 restrictions.
The Lower Aghada club, which reached its centenary in 2017 has a fascinating history, as it's home was acquired by an enterprising local group at the end of World War 1, having been used as a seaplane base by the American navy.
The club has had many ups and downs through the corridors of time, but now stands in a really strong position with an increasing membership base.
"We like all our cubs have had to halt our adult tennis activity, but thankfully with the younger generation allowed to play, there has been a fantastic response to our coaching sessions as close to 150 are attending each week," says Paul Prendergast.
"Lower Aghada is overall an incredibly energetic club and whilst our adult members are very understanding of the current situation, we are still nevertheless all really looking forward to getting back in action.
"We have lots of players at a high level and many more playing social tennis. In total our membership has increased by 15 percent in recent times, meaning that we are now nearing 400 between junior and senior players."
One of the major challenges facing the recently elected committee is discussing options for a new club house.
Unfortunately the splendid structure which had become the focal point for all activities was gutted to the ground by fire in 2017.
"We need now to develop a clear plan in the near future in terms of a building and a budget. Covid 19 has obviously thrown a different light on lots of things, so we have to consider all the views of our members and our commercial partners.
"This club has always shown great resilience and we will all meet the challenges again together," concluded the chairman.
The club has unveiled a new head coach in recent weeks with the vastly experienced Sinead Dunne at the helm of a team that also includes Paul Fitzgerald and Michael Russell.
Among the most recent developments at the splendidly located East Cork club was the project completed in 2015 involving the resurfacing of all 6 courts and installation of new floodlights.
Looking ahead playing wise, the hope is that when restrictions are eased Lower Agahda players will be able to take place on court alongside the other clubs who are still involved in the yet to be finished Munster Branch Summer Cup.
Meantime, internally the club singles competition attracted a massive entry during early autumn, with a high standard of play being witnessed all the way through to Finals Day.