Cork Tennis Blog

Welcome to the Cork Tennis Blog.

This blog will, hopefully, keep you up to date on the tennis scene in Cork, both socially and competitively. Whether you are new to the game or an experienced player I hope you find the information and posts here, useful and interesting.

You can contact me by email at

As well as local tennis news, there are also some very good articles written by local players and I am always looking for people to contribute to the blog, so don't be shy.

Please also feel free to comment on individual posts, or alternatively through the comment box on the right of the blog. I hope you enjoy reading through the blog and that it was of some use to you.

Enjoy your game, Rob

Rob's Racketrestringing

Friday, May 14, 2021

Interested in a Tennis Scholarship?


When I was growing up going to the US on a tennis scholarship was a rarity.  Over the years it has become more popular and now thanks to Mark and his company 'All Sports Recruitment' it has become more accessible.

If you're a player who's interested in a tennis scholarship, or the parent of such a player, then you need to get in touch with Mark.

Read on to find out about Marks' college experience and how is company can benefit you.

Mark Finnegan

A native of Kill, County Kildare, Ireland, Mark graduated from Memphis in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in finance.Mark is delighted to be bringing all his knowledge and expertise back to Ireland with the set up of his own business ALL SPORTS RECRUITMENT

·       Married to Molly Finnegan and the father of two sons., Kellum & Rory

·       Irelands first ever recruiting company

·       Over 15 years of college athletic experience

·       10 plus year of coaching of college tennis

·       Auburn University, North Florida University, University of Memphis, Georgia Southern University

·       Former Irish national Junior Champion

·       Former college coach of current Professional players Lasse Muscheites, Joe Salisbury, David O’Hare Julian Bradley & Jack Findel Hawkins

·       4 Conference championships as a college coach

·       2 time regional assistant coach of the year and Conference coach of the year

·       UTR Expert

Mark Finnegan enters his second year with All Sports Recruitment (ASR). ASR, in it’s first year, managed to place athletes on the male and female side of college tennis. ASR, also, helped two transfer-athletes obtain new and better fitting universities in the USA. All Sports Recruitment successfully helped Irish athletes find the right university in the British university athletics, BUCS league . 

On top of consulting athletes, regarding university scholarship opportunities, Mark has placed recent university graduates in sports jobs  with one of the largest sports management companies in the world. 

Before establishing All Sports Recruitment Mark spent his final year as a college coach at Auburn University. Mark came to Auburn from the University of North Florida, where he was head coach of the men’s program for the past four seasons (2014-17), posting a 56-36 record while winning the Atlantic Sun tournament or regular season title three of his four seasons and garnering the highest ITA team rankings in the program’s history. 

Before his time at North Florida, Mark spent five years at Memphis, helping them become one of the Top 20 teams in the nation. He was an assistant coach at Memphis for his first four years (2009-12) before being elevated to associate head coach prior to the 2013 season. Twice part of the C-USA coaching staff of the year, Mark was named ITA Regional Assistant Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and also received votes for ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2013. 

In 2012, Memphis earned its first NCAA team bid, and in 2013, the Tigers advanced to the NCAA Round of 16. 

Mark also assisted with the Memphis women’s tennis team, helping the Tigers gain their first NCAA appearance in 2013 as well as a program-high ranking of No. 22 in 2013. Mark Also upon graduation from The University of Memphis coached the women’s team at Memphis for one year in 2006-07

Mark played Division I tennis at both Georgia Southern and Memphis. While at Georgia Southern, he was named the 2002 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, all-conference and the team’s MVP. Before leaving to go on his own scholarship to the states, he represented Ireland as a Junior Olympian. 

To find out more or to get in touch with Mark, follow the link:

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Tennis getting back to normal

Some action from clubs around Cork as players are allowed return to tennis.  Long may it last! 

Sundays Well Boating and Tennis Club

Rushbrooke Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

Lakewood Tennis Club

Douglas Lawn Tennis Club

History for Cork Club

Wood Tennis Club is hugely excited to announce our very first Club member - Douglas Lawn Tennis Club, in Cork, Ireland!

Not only is Douglas LTC a Foundation Member, they become an Affiliate Member as the Club will be staging a wood racket tournament as part of the Wood Tennis Club International Tour. In fact their tournament will be the launch event, to be held just as soon as government Covid guidelines allow.
Club President Mike Ryan (pictured at left in the main photo) says, “We are thrilled to be a foundational partner with Wood Tennis Club. Since our foundation in 1927 we have been at the forefront of tennis in Cork and Munster.

“Offering a new way of playing our sport rooted in its oldest traditions and craftsmanship is something that underlines our view that tennis is for everyone.”
Tennis Captain Triona Buckley (also pictured) says, “We are delighted to be involved with Steve O’Sullivan and Wood Tennis. In these current times it is exciting to join such a venture.”
Our Director Steve O'Sullivan is also pictured with Mike and Triona.
More from Douglas LTC here later this week!
In the meantime, check out the Club -
Instagram at Douglaslawntennisclub

Monkstown Tennis and Croquet Club

 Monkstown Tennis & Croquet Club.

(The following has being provided by Club Coach, Joanne Williamson.)
Monkstown is known for its picturesque landscape and its connection to sailing but tucked away up the hill from the local National School lies a dainty little tennis and croquet club.
With three artificial grass courts and a neat homestyle club house, you couldn't help but fall in love with this club! Having recently received planning permission for a fourth court, building is set to commence in late Autumn.

The junior coaching program coordinated by Donal Neary and myself, is run on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoons and caters for ages from 4 years and upwards with teens classes taking place over the weekend. The sessions at present with restrictions due to Covid guidelines, has over 100 players taking part.
Membership boasts over 300 in the form of family, couple, single and juniors, and a lovely tennis community feel runs through the club whose beautiful grounds are maintained by Cork legend Vere Ludgate. Court bookings are booked online and four days in advance with slots of a perfect 75 minutes available from 6pm onwards.
The junior program returns at last on Tuesday 27th April and will be followed once doubles is allowed by the extremely popular, men’s Vets doubles on Tuesday/Thursday evenings and a Sunday morning all organised by John Barry. Wednesday nights club night will start back in a few weeks and the annual cross-river competition versus the rivals in Rushbrooke LTC is a hugely anticipated event each year and hopefully will be held in 2021!
Having four club approved, licenced coaches available for private and group sessions along with the introduction of Cardio tennis in the future, Monkstown tennis club, small as it may be, certainly packs a punch!

For any additional information please contact the club on

Friday, June 14, 2019

Professional Stringing Service Available this Summer


I will be home in Cork for July and August this year and will be available to string rackets if anyone requires it.

I am constantly updating my skills and qualifications and am currently certified with 2 associations:

ERSA Pro Tour Level 1 Stringer
USRSA Master Racket Technician

What these qualifications mean for you is a professional service and personalised advice.

One of the biggest problems with people stringing is they don't understand that not all strings suit all rackets or players.  This can lead to a drop in performance or worse still an injury.

If you would like to avail of my stringing service or just find out more about stringsd you can give me a call on 087-1528120 (number will be active from the 30th of June) or come and visit me in Carrigaline Tennis Club where I will be stringing for the ITF under 18 event.

Hope to see you soon.


Learn to String with ERSA Ireland


As the Training Manager for ERSA (European Racket Stringers Association) Ireland I will be holding courses in Cork and Dublin this August.

The course will teach you about strings, rackets, which compliment each other, you will also learn the proper stringing techniques and patterns to suit each racket.

If you are already a stringer and want to stand out from the rest then you can do the Professional Stringers Exam.

Please note attending a course DOES NOT QUALIFY you as a professional stringer.

ERSA is the leading stringing association around the world and has various stages of qualifications to suit your requirements, whether it is quality string, racket customising or pro tour level stringing.

For more information on these courses and exams you can email me on or send me a whatsapp message on 00974-66223047.

I will be available on my Irish number from the 30th of June, 087-1528120.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Learn about Rackets and Strings, why not become a qualified Racket Stringer.

Over the course of this summer there is an opportunity to learn about rackets and strings.

  • How to choose the correct racket for you.
  • Which strings compliment which racket. 
  • What combinations of Rackets and Strings can cause injury.
  • Which strings are suitable for Junior players.
  • Which strings are Power strings and which are Control strings.

You also have the opportunity to learn to string correctly or even become a certified stringer.

Presentations and Workshops can be arranged at your club for your members.

If this is something that you feel your club would be interested in, please get in touch and I will send you on all the relevant information.

The stringing workshops/certifications are carried out as part of ERSA (European Racket Stringers Association).

I am the Irish Training Manager and Pro Tour Level 1 Stringer and look forward to hearing from you.


Friday, November 24, 2017

How to Prepare for Winter League - Conor Twomey

Here is the second article from our Resident Tennis Coach.

Having spent a long time working in a sports shop and trying to convince people of the importance of the right gear/equipment, I think this is a very important article for all players to read.

As we are now in winter league season, here are 5 simple tips to improve your game.

1. Your bag and more importantly what's in it!
Change of gear
Spare grips
Spare racket
Spare shock absorber
Wine gums / Jaffa cakes / banana
Water (minimum 2 litres)
Spare socks
Anti - inflammatory
Gel/ tablets
This should cover every eventuality on court. FAIL TO PREPARE, prepare to fail.

2. Your footwear.
The amount of times I see people with the incorrect footwear is frightening. Personally, for stability and durability I've always liked Babolat footwear. Wilson is my favourite for comfort. I recommend every player wear proper tennis shoes as grip, comfort and ankle stability are so important.

3. Clothing.
Clothing has come so far today that the days of cotton shirts and shorts are well gone.  I strongly recommend some form of material with cooling features, Climacool, in summer and a good baselayer in winter.
I recommend the Under Armour Baselayer range (Cold Gear) as it's very high quality and light but it is expensive.
Make sure you check that it's Cold Gear and not clima cool .

4. Hydration.
If you only drink when your thirsty it TOO LATE. Little and often is the best advise. Drink on every changeover and make it habitual. I've seen ties go on over 4 hours and that's a long time so keep hydrated. Dehydration has a dramatic effect on performance. Considering most matches are on Sundays and people have a glass of wine or 6 on a Saturday ...... hydration is important.

5. Finally and most importantly...... turn up on time and hopefully, at the right venue. I have seen teams turn up at different venues at the same time and people get the times wrong. Nothing worse for your performance than turning up late and stressed. Arrive early, chill out and look forward to the match ahead.
Of course there will be people out there who remember playing Winter league against me and they are saying.... I had no bag and dodgy runners and wearing a soccer shirt and army shorts and ham sandwiches for energy.
I wish someone had given me this advise.


Why Hybrid Stringing should be considered!

 Hybrid Stringing

Primal Hybrid Set.jpeg
Hybrid Stringing has been around a long time now and some brands, going back 20 or more years, even packaged two different strings in a set.  This is happening much more these days, with the likes of Head taking it a stage further with their new Primal string set up also been available on a mixed reel.
A hybrid string setup can be made up a number of different ways:
  • The most common of these is mixing two different materials, where the most popular on the professional tour is Polyester and Natural Gut.  Club players would generally mix Polyester and Multifilament, as this is a cheaper option to the expensive natural gut.
  • It can also be a mixture of any two strings, such as Poly and Nylon or Nylon and Multifilament.  Even mixing two polyester strings, where one is smooth and one textured for spin.
  • Mixing two different gauges (thicknesses) of a string is also classed as a hybrid set up.
So you can see Hybrid stringing can be made up a variety of different ways.
For now, let's deal with the most common ones, the Polyester/Gut combination or the Polyester/Multifilament combination.

You will find some Coaches, Players, and Stringers who are not fans of a Hybrid Setup and feel polyester is the only way to go.  They are entitled to that opinion, but if you are a Coach or a Stringer you have a responsibility to your player to explain all the options available to them.
Hybrid stringing has been referred to as 'The Best of Both Worlds'.  You get control from the Polyester string and power and comfort from the Gut or Multifilament.

Your choice of string placement also has a big influence on how the racket will play.  By putting the polyester in the main strings the emphasis is on control, as the main strings dictate the feel of the stringbed.
Alternatively, like Federer, by putting the Gut in the mains you increase the power level and comfort you feel.

There are many different reasons why Hybrid Stringing should be considered. 
For me, I use a hybrid setup because of the climate I currently live in.  I find it is a compromise of not been a big fan of the firm feel of a full poly bed, but understanding the need for control in the very hot conditions I play in.

I recommend hybrid stringing to players who are currently using polyester strings as a full bed but shouldn't be.  I say this because they do not have enough power in their strokes to compensate for the loss of power that comes from polyester.  Or they are using lightweight rackets that are stiff and with the addition of polyester strings, they increase the risk of injury through shock and vibration.

I find this is either a way to transition them to a full bed of Multifilament or Nylon or worst case a way to help them add some needed power to their game while still servicing their desire to play with polyester.

I also recommend a hybrid setup to developing juniors (those old enough to consider poly), as a way to add control to their games without jumping straight to polyester.

The downside to hybrid stringing is, generally, the softer string breaks off the firmer string.  Although, unless it breaks in the first few games, I don't consider it a big problem to those who are serious about their games.  These players should already know that for their rackets to perform at their best, regular stringing is required.

Due to the high number of injuries to some of the Top professional players this year, the stats have changed slightly, but for most of the last couple of years, a good majority of the Top male players were using hybrid setup (Murray, Djokovic, Federer, Thiem, Nishkori, Tsonga, Cilic).

For this reason alone, it makes sense to consider a Hybrid setup or at very least do a bit more research into it!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tips for Parents of Performance Players - Conor Twomey

This is the first article from our resident coach Conor Twomey.  
It's a very interesting read and if you want to leave any comments below for Conor or you want to ask him any questions you can email the blog and I will get them answered for you.
Thanks Conor.

Here are my 5 tips for any parent of a performance player from Cork / Munster.

1- Players mature physically / mentally / emotionally at different stages.  Their results and performances can change as they move up through the age groups.  Usually post puberty players begin to find their true level and with the right coach reach their potential.  Don't be too caught up in results up to under 14 as it all changes as they get bigger and stronger and emotionally mature.

2 - Good technique is great but not the be all and end all.  Style over function.  Games literacy is the one Criticism I would have of all our juniors at the moment.  Why?  Simply put our players just don't play enough matches and build up match experience.  The one thing that was constant from attending the national and world conference recently was how lots of the top players played loads of matches. Furthermore , they played all levels which gave them experience of playing different spins and tactics. Some kids do so much coaching that they don't have time to play ..... nuts.

3- Slightly related to the last point. Make sure the cognitive load is not too much for your child.  If they are told one thing on a Monday and another on a Wednesday and something else in a private on Thursday and then another coach again on Saturday or Sunday giving information has one outcome ... overload.  Keep it simple and relevant and hopefully everyone is working off a plan. LTDP is a good guide for parents and coaches.

4- Don't follow the crowd.  If you want to stand out and be different and excel.  Sometimes you have to travel a different path. This is not easy but can be very rewarding if the player has the talent /drive and you have the means / time.  Never before have options been so available to parents and players as now. Provincial squads, private squads, club squads, national squads, international academies.  If you look at the Munster players who won in Fitzwilliam this year,  they all travelled and developed their game in very different areas.  From Dundalk to Dublin to France.  The last 10 years have taught me that there is no one formula.  Success can be achieved in many ways.  Find the right road and you will reap the rewards.
NOTE OF CAUTION, time and time again I've seen very good players not achieve their potential because of the poor decisions made by parents who felt they were doing the best.  A bit more research and conversation and this can easily be avoided.

5- This, I feel is the most important.  Who is driving the whole thing?  If your child is not bugging you constantly to play games and go training and wanting to do more then he/she is not a performance player but a very good recreational player.  I've seen countless talented players not succeed because they liked tennis but didn't love it.  When I was young, the first thing I did in the morning was open the window to see if it was raining and if it was I'd be gutted, as that meant no tennis .  Ask yourself the same question and if your child is not gutted then accept performance is not the path.

Please read my article next month when I will address the 5 things we need to fix to improve the tennis experience for everyone in the province.

Conor Twomey

Level 2 Performance coach and Provincial coach of the year.