Monte Carlo welcomed the team with clear blue skies, supercars and designer storefronts. The surroundings buoyed the spirits of the team. University tennis teams from around Europe awaited them at the ‘Monte Carlo Country Club’
While most students spent the second week of October studying, finishing assignments and preparing for lectures, a small delegation of Trinity students spent it on the Mediterranean’s golden beaches. Between dining with Monaco’s royalty and rubbing shoulders with Monte Carlo’s elite, members of DU Lawn Tennis Club took part in the annual European University Tennis Championships held in Monte Carlo.
Five students made the trip to the Principality of Monaco to represent Trinity at the annual competition. The team of five, comprised of men’s captain Bill Jennings, women’s captain Marie-Louise O’Callaghan, Dan O’Neill, Janeen Laabei and Luke Maguire, began their preparations in the French city of Nice. As soon as they had arrived in the city, they made their way to their accommodation and set out on to explore the picturesque southern French town, as well as prepare for their upcoming matches against the elite of European collegiate tennis.
An early train to Monte Carlo awaited them the next day. The tournament was due to begin later the same day. Monte Carlo welcomed the team with clear blue skies, supercars and designer storefronts. The surroundings buoyed the spirits of the team. University tennis teams from around Europe awaited them at the ‘Monte Carlo Country Club’, and the day was well-documented on Facebook and Snapchat.
The draw was made the same day and saw Trinity placed in the same group as French University, HEC Lausanne and The University of Cologne. The Lausanne game would be first followed by a match up with the German university. The whole DULTC team was rallied by the feeling of playing on clay courts resident to current stars of the game such as Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. This spirit of success drove DULTC to a 2-1 victory against their French opponents. The women’s singles and mixed doubles were dominated by DULTC’s top-ranked female Janeen Laabei and the pairing of Luke Maguire and Marie-Louise O’Callaghan respectively, while Dan O’Neill narrowly missed out on a win, losing his match in three thrilling sets.
Bitter disappointment followed, as the previously near unstoppable DULTC team fell victim to the overwhelming talent and power of the University of Cologne. The Cologne team comprised of many players who double as playing partners for players on the professional circuit. All was not lost, however, as DULTC could still progress to the semi-finals pending the following morning’s clash between HEC Lausanne and the University of Cologne. If the German side were to emerge victorious it would ensure DULTC’s progression to the semi-finals.
The DULTC team turned their focus to refuelling for the next day of matches. The Monte Carlo country club treated each team to a formidable buffet complemented with French wine. Like true professionals, they retreated to the confines of their apartments early in the evening in order to prepare mentally for the challenges of the next day. The multi-million euro yachts that filled the marina provided an enjoyable backdrop as the team headed back to their confines.
A place in the semi-final was secured as the University of Cologne managed to subdue the HEC Lausanne team 3-0, meaning DULTC would face St Gallen’s of Switzerland.
The semi final saw DULTC unable to overcome the formidable Swiss side. The team regrouped and set their focus on the third/fourth place play-off. This game would be a Dublin derby as DULTC were to face Dublin City University. The encounter played out over three tight matches with DCU emerging victorious 3-0. DULTC congratulated their compatriots and later the outright winners the University of Cologne. The German team overcame St. Gallen’s 2-1 in the final.
Exhausted from two days of games and enjoying the weekend, the group began to prepare themselves for the centrepiece event of the trip. The Baroness of Massy, Princess Antoinette of Monaco hosted the presentation, reception and banquet to conclude the tournament. The meal of stuffed vegetables, whole roast lamb, herbs and potatoes and artichoke au gratin was supplemented by a choice of lemon tartelette or macaron for dessert.
Given their success at the 2016 edition of the tournament in finishing fourth overall, DULTC hope to return to Monte Carlo next year to claim the European University title. They also have plans to maintain their Irish Intervarsity men’s title and their Dublin Floodlight League title, both won in the previous academic year.