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Ballymun and the Dubs had top ace in Tom

IT was Christmas Day in Mullingar. Horrible weather.

Tommy Carr was in the Mullingar Tennis Club. He had a basket of tennis balls.

His son, Simon, was practising his serve. Simon played under-age football for Westmeath.

Now, he's one of the best tennis players in the country. He's just after sitting his Junior Cert.

He's good enough to go on the circuit. Serious sponsorship would be required.

But Tommy didn't go on the radio to talk about that. He was saying what a lot of people are thinking.

Wouldn't it be marvellous if a player from Ireland could flourish in the big-time.

As Tommy says: "We have world-class performers at so many sports. Why not tennis?"

Tommy focused on the supreme skill of hurling. The hand to eye co-ordination.

He says the talent is in the country. It's just that over the years, the structures weren't in place.

Now they are. And he feels that in ten to 15 years time, Ireland could well have a person in the mix to land a title in Paris, Melbourne, New York or Wimbledon.

Tommy was on the John Murray Show with Simon last week.

A couple of weeks previously, the former Dublin football captain and manager was talking to Hugh Cahill on RTé's 2FM's Game On. Hugh is an accomplished player himself.


Willie Dawson texted in a message. Willie has fond memories of the Mullingar Open, and all the excellent players the club produced.

Willie was one of Dublin's finest young racket-men. He was also a noted rugby player. And he's the Dad of Harry of the Harps. And the Dubs.

Spending an hour in the wind and the rain in Mullingar Tennis Club on Christmas Day sums up Simon's conviction.

It brought to mind that great ad that ran in some of the GAA programmes.

It's the player training away on their own, with the caption reading: 'It's amazing how many matches are won when there's nobody watching'.

In his first year with Ballymun Kickhams in 1985, Tommy helped them to win the Dublin Senior Football Championship title, the same year that he made his debut for the Dubs.

And as Tommy reminded the listeners, talent is never enough. Drive and devotion is what turns double-faults into aces.