County Dublin Championships
The County Dublin Championships were not played between 1939 – 1950 due to the outbreak of World War 2 and its aftermath. The exception was 1941 when Betty Lombard and Cyril Kemp were the winners.
Captain Hugh Wilson succeeded his father as the Carrickmines C<C owner in 1931. He was Tournament Secretary and Referee up to 1939. Wilson, together with Alan Gordon and later Harry Cronin, became the Tournament Committee.
John Stokes purchased the Club from his uncle Hugh Wilson in 1951. John took over the mantle of Referee in the recommencement of the Championships in 1951. He was assisted by Reggie Leonard, Raymund Egan, and T.V.Murphy.
The Club was bought out from John Stokes by the members in 1959. He was the son of J.F. Stokes (the Referee of 1908) and was an RAF Bomber in the War.
There was a changing of the guard in 1956, with Hugh Hamilton as the new Referee. Hugh, along with Sonja Buckley and George Byrne formed the new Tournament Committee. Sonja remained on for over 60 years. In 1965 James O’Driscoll took over the newly created role of Tournament Director with Bobby Law as Referee. The Committee under James and Bobby modernised the tournament. Alan Ashe, Paul Horan and Des Oakes undertook the role of Referee in the intervening years.
James O’Driscoll, Tournament Director for 27 years on the Finals Day presentation.
THE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THE 1950s
Guy Jackson and Joe Hackett dominated the Men’s Singles winning nine titles between them. In the Ladies event, Betty Lombard and June Ann Byrne each had three successes.
June Ann Byrne Champion 1957,’58 & ‘59
June Ann played at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the 1950s. Her longevity in the sport was demonstrated when she won the ITF World Doubles title in the Super Seniors (O85’s) category in 2018.
Guy Jackson in action, Champion in 1951, ‘52, ‘54, & ‘55
Guy Jackson played at Wimbledon on eight occasions with some success. He defeated Joe Hackett in the County Dublin Championships final in 1952. Joe avenged this defeat in 1957. Guy was the Vice President of Fitzwilliam LTC, and due to take office in the year Fitzwilliam moved to its new premises in Appian Way when tragedy struck in 1972. Jackson, along with a group of other Irish businessmen, was killed when their British Airways flight to Brussels crashed near Staines in Surrey in June 1972, killing all 118 people on board.
Joe Hackett was Champion in Carrickmines in 1953 ,’57, ‘58, ‘59 & ‘62. His daughter, Helen Shields was to become the first Lady President at Fitzwilliam LTC in 2016 having dropped its “Men Only” rule in 1996.
Joe Hackett the Irish Davis Cup player, at Wimbledon.
Hackett defeated Derek Arthurs in the 1962 final. Derek was the father of Wayne Arthurs, the Australian Davis Cup hero and top doubles player with a huge serve, who also played in Carrickmines at the start of his career. Matt Murphy was Champion in 1956. He lost a tight match in 1954 at Wimbledon against Italian Nicola Pietrangeli, twice the French Open Singles Champion.
Mark Cox, the British Davis Cup player beat Michael Hickey in the County Dublin Championships final in 1960.
Mark Cox went on to be one of the top professionals of his era. He won the Irish Open in 1973 and played on the British team that reached the Davis Cup final in 1978, against the United States. He had surprise wins in Grand Slams against Rod Laver at the 1971 Australian Open (No 1 seed), and Ken Rosewall at the 1972 US Open (No. 2 seed).
Geraldine Barniville, Champion in 1963, ‘65, ‘66, ‘69, ‘71, ‘72, ‘73, ‘74, & ‘77 A RECORD!
In 1963, Geraldine Houlihan (Barniville) won her first Ladies Singles title. She won her ninth and final title in 1977. She was never beaten in a Ladies Singles Final and all her wins were in straight sets in a distinguished career. On Saturday July 20th 1969 Geraldine and Jim McArdle won the County Dublin Championships Ladies and Men’s Singles titles. It was to become a day of historical significance as later that evening, American Astronaut, Neil Armstrong disembarked from Apollo 11 and became the first person to step onto the Moon. Geraldine retired from tennis in 1977 and went on to win 71 caps for Ireland in Squash. She had a similar number of caps for tennis, which included a win over Virginia Wade, the 1977 Wimbledon Champion. In this period, she dominated Irish tennis and was the most successful player ever in the County Dublin Championships.
Jim Buckley, Champion in 1970 with the Tournament Referee, Bobby Law.
Jim Buckley of Carrickmines won the Men’s Singles in 1970. He was finalist on three occasions, in 1967 to Michael Hickey, 1969 to Jim McArdle and 1971 to Des Early.
Kevin Menton from Sutton won four Men’s Championship titles in a row in 1976, 1977, 1978 & 1979
Jo Sheridan, Champion in 1978 & 79. She played on Carrickmines winning league teams alongside Geraldine Barniville and June Ann Byrne.
L to R: Hallfridur O’Neill, Peter Ledbetter, Champion 1973, Paula Ledbetter, George Byrne and Harry Barniville. Harry was Runner up in 1961 & 1966. George was Tournament Secretary in the 1950s revitalising the Championships after the war.