RUSHBROOKE Tennis and Croquet Club were all set to celebrate their 150 year anniversary with a series of special events taking place for members throughout 2020.
However, the arrival of Covid 19 in early Spring abruptly halted these ambitious plans and for a while during lockdown, it meant the club's gates were closed.
However, whilst acknowledging the disappointment at not being able to commemorate this landmark year, the committee nevertheless bounced back to provide members with a most enjoyable few months of in- house activities, with the emphasis very much on social tennis.
The harbour town based club is actually Ireland's oldest tennis and croquet club, a fact that all involved are very proud of and still very determined to celebrate even though it may be a year or even 2 before the threat of the pandemic eases and bubbly can be uncorked.
Rushbrooke has set the highest standards on and off the court and their hard working committee again left no stone unturned as they provided the best possible programme of events for their members despite the restrictions in place.
There have been many highlights, including a 100 hour tennis and croquet marathon in memory of much loved club stalwart Niall Ahern who passed on to this eternal reward three years ago.
Current Rushbrooke Chairman Eddie Ronaybne was a close friend and playing partner of the late Niall.
"There is no doubt Niall was the ultimate clubman. He was a great friend, colleague and tennis player and he even worked for a period in the club.
"We felt when Nial passed away three years ago that it was appropriate to run an annual event in his memory. For the first 2 years, it took on the form of fun team competition with a host of different activities, but with Covid restrictions this year, we had to do something different so came up with the marathon 24 hour event.
"It proved a huge success with over €4,500 raised for Marymount," commented Eddie.
Amongst those in attendance at the recent weekend event was Niall's immediate family - his wife Ann Marie, son Cian along with daughters Eve and Sarah and a large cohort of club members who were on the 24 hour time sheet..
Elsewhere the club close competition proved a big hit with members in the countdown to the recent finals.
Rushbrooke members were also in action in the Summer Cup, where no less than 3 teams qualified for the finals which were scheduled to be hosted by the Catcholic Instiitute Club, but had to be deferred due to the recently reintroduced increased restrictions..
But as Eddie Ronayne summed up: "they will take place at the first available opportunity and we also plan to celebrate our big anniversary too - even though it now will be branded as 150 plus 1."