“The French Connection”
The French championships opened its doors to all amateurs in 1925. Up until then players had to be registered to a French club. In 1928 Roland Garros was built for the Davis Cup final. It was named after the WW1 Aviation hero and became the home of the French Open.
Yannick Noah hitting his legendary forehand in front of the old Clubhouse.
Noah chilling out on the “Grass”
Yannick Noah is an iconic charismatic sportsman and the only Frenchman to win a Grand Slam in the past 75 years.
His father, Zacharie came from the Cameroon and was a professional footballer and winner of the “Coupe de France”. He also played with Stade Saint-Germain (now PSG).
Yannick Noah’s son, Joakim, played professional basketball in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls. He was a two-time NBA All-Star.
Three generations of top-class professional sportsmen and all remarkably in different disciplines!
Noah using Mats Wilander as target practice. He defeated Wilander in the 1983 Roland Garros final.
Sandrine Testud in action in Carrickmines and below with Lisa O’Shea.
Sandrine was a French Fed Cup Champion in 1997. Yannick Noah was the team Captain. She was also was the US Open Doubles finalist. Her highest WTA ranking was #8.
Sandrine was representing Tennis Club Parioli, from Rome in Carrickmines in 2008. She defeated both Libby Lyons of Carrickmines, and Fitzwilliam’s Lisa O’Shea helping her club to go on and win the tournament.
Carrickmines playing in the CTC tournament in 2014 in Lyon with Henri Leconte. Gerry Cleary, Alan Doran, Henri Leconte, Gary Kilduff, Paddy McCooey, Louise Connolly and Gina Niland
Lyon the hosts emerged as champions of the tournament. Carrickmines finished in credible second position with Rot Weiss from Berlin in third position.
Henri Leconte reached the Men’s Singles final at the French Open in 1988 losing in straight sets to Mats Wilander. Along with Noah (his best friend), they won the French Open Men’s Doubles title in 1984. The following year they reached the final at the U.S Open.
Leconte was the star player helping France win the Davis Cup in 1991. His career-high ranking was world No. 5. Over his career he beat the best including Lendl at Wimbledon and Becker at Roland Garros.
Yannick Noah (Captain) and Henri Leconte win the Davis Cup for France.
In 1991, Leconte was involved in the Davis Cup final for a second time having lost to the US eight years earlier. France again faced the US, and this time Leconte defeated Pete Sampras in straight sets in the critical singles rubber. He also teamed with Guy Forget to win the doubles, as France upset the heavily favoured US team 3–1.
Ireland’s first year playing in the Davis Cup after Independence was 1923 when they played France. The Irish team had a large Carrickmines contingent including Simon Scroope, Edward McCrea and the Team Captain Jack Miley.
The French Davis Cup team in Dublin 1923
L to R: Jean Borotra, Rene Lacoste, Allan Muhr (Captain), Henri Cochet, Jacques Brugnon. The players were collectively known as the ‘The Four Musketeers’.
The Four Musketeers dominated world tennis in the second half of the 1920s and early 1930s, winning 20 Grand Slam singles and 23 Grand Slam doubles titles between them.
They also led France to six successive Davis Cup wins, 1927–32. The Roland Garros stadium was built for the Davis Cup final in 1928.
Cecil Campbell, Ireland’s leading player and three times in a row Quarter finalist at Wimbledon defeated Jean Borotra in the tie. Borotra, the following year was the Wimbledon Champion.
Campbell was knighted for his War contribution and was married to Lavender Letts, the 1929 Carrickmines Ladies Champion. He died in tragic circumstances in 1952.
Perrine Seyler from France was a popular member of the Carrickmines Ladies 1st team for a couple of years. She was Club Champion in 2019 winning the Singles and Doubles (with Robyn Johnston) while studying in Ireland.