A few downpours and the odd hail shower did nothing to dampen spirits at the Fermanagh Open Veterans Tournament hosted by Irvinestown Lawn Tennis Club (ILTC) at the Bawnacre Centre courts last week.

More than 90 players from across the country participated in 23 events, which ranged across different standards in Over-35 through to Over-65 age groups, in Singles Mens, Ladies and Mixed Doubles.

The event was sponsored by APC Mechanical Contractors, Lisnaskea and by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council whose Chairman, Councillor Errol Thompson, visited on Saturday afternoon and stayed to enjoy the high standard of play, plus the support provided by G. Beacom MBE, Bawnacre Centre Manager and his staff.

Councillor Thompson paid tribute to J. Maguire, Tournament Director, and the ILTC committee members who worked hard to stage this prestigious event and, in adherence to Tennis Ireland and the Council’s Covid-19 regulations, ensured that it could be safely enjoyed by the competitors.

Players at the tournament were surprised and delighted on Sunday when two members of the winning NI Ladies International Football team, Melissa Callaghan (Captain) and team member Claire Carson visited the courts to watch some of the finals and say a few words.

The Chairman of Ulster Branch Tennis Ireland, William Noteman – who also participated in the tournament – expressed his appreciation of the effort which had gone into organising the tournament, and referred to the high standard of play on superb courts.

John Maguire, Tournament Director, thanked the sponsors, APC Mechanical Contractors and the Council, his team of helpers, G. Beacom and Bawnacre staff, and particularly the players, many of whom who had travelled a considerable distance to take part in the event.

Spirit of friendship

He referred to the spirit of friendship and camaraderie which sat easily alongside the competition on court.

The Over-65s Mens Singles was won by Omagh stalwart, Stephen Cuthbertson; the runner-up was Enniskillen’s Christopher Cieplucha, while Irvinestown’s John Maguire secured the win over Gerry Clarke, (Letterkenny) in the Over-60 Mens Singles.

Peter Craig, Omagh LTC, won the Over-55 Singles with Godfrey Gaston (Bangor LTC) runner-up.

In a closely fought match, Steven Leeman (Hawarden TC) took the Over-50s singles win from Gelmuda Grzegorz, (Ballycastle TC), and went on to secure wins in the Over-50s Mixed Doubles with club partner Jennifer Lyall, and Over-45s Mens Doubles with partner William Noteman, (Belfast Boat Club).

Success came for local club members when Kathleen Maguire ILTC partnered Doreen Jones, (Donegal Club), to the win in the Ladies Over-55s Doubles.

Kathleen was also runner-up in the Ladies Over-55s Singles which was won by Aoifin Shorten (Sligo LTC), while Doreen and partner Conor McKeown (Omagh LTC) secured the Over-35s C Doubles win.

Conor also took the Mens Over 35s C Singles title when he defeated Ralph McCurry in the final.

John Maguire flew the flag for ILTC again when he and partner Godfrey Gaston won the Mens Over-55s Doubles.

It was a poignant moment when Omagh players Cliff Worley and Karen Acheson won the Over-50s C Mixed Doubles Brendan McGuiness Memorial Cup, sponsored and presented by Sheena McGuiness, in memory of her late husband, a long-standing member of ILTC who had always enjoyed Mixed Doubles in Irvinestown and neighbouring clubs’ tournaments.

Newcomer to Irvinestown’s tournament, Hilary Kilcawley (Sligo TC) battled magnificently with Orla Malone (Cavan TC) to secure the Over-45s Ladies Singles title while Jennifer Lyall (Bangor TC) had a similarly epic battle with Vanessa McBrien (Enniskillen TC) to take the Over-50s Ladies Singles win.

Jennifer went on to partner with Ailbhe Atkinson (David Lloyd club Belfast) to a win over the Enniskillen pairing of Martina Boyd /Sonja Hateboer in the Over-45 Ladies Doubles event.

Irvinestown’s David Lowe and Ralph McCurry secured the Over-35 C Mens Doubles titles with a win over Omagh’s John Cullinan and Cliff Worley, while Irvinestown’s mother and daughter partnership of Laura and Kathryn McDowell took the Over-35 C Ladies Doubles title.


Kathryn was also runner-up to winner Emma Gormley, Omagh TC, in the Over-35s C Ladies Singles.

The Mens Singles Over-45 event was won by Matthew McGann( Enniskillen TC); runner-up was Liam Kane (Windsor TC).

In the Ladies Over-35s Doubles, Kathleen Diamond/Amanda Leeman (Hawarden TC) won a hard-fought victory over Elaine Chambers (Butt Hall) and partner Joan McCandless (Donegal Clubs).

The big winner on Finals day was Francis Venzon, who took the Over-35 Mens Doubles title with partner Sean Moloney (Ballycastle TC); runners-up were Steven King (Cavehill)/Matthew Ryan (Nenagh TC); and the Over-35 Mixed Doubles with partner Elaine Chambers (Butt Hall); runners-up Steven King and Emma Black.

Francis went on to take the Over-35s Mens Singles title and was presented with the Josie Patterson Memorial Cup, sponsored by Aidan Curran, of sponsor APC Mechanical Contractors.

In his victor’s speech, Francis thanked the sponsors and John Maguire and his team for hosting such an extemely enjoyable and successful event.

He also paid tribute to his fellow competitors and expressed special thanks to G.Beacom and the Bawnacre staff for the welcome and hospitality provided during the tournament.