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03 Dec 2021

Tennis is served in Naas again after Covid-19 lockdown

Action: Naas Lawn Tennis Club has opened up but one ace performer plays a waiting game

Tennis is served in Naas again after Covid-19 lockdown

Josh Roe-Flannelly, the Naas player who has a scholarship to the US

Naas Lawn Tennis Club marked a return to normality last week with the reopening of the 11 courts to allow play resume.

There will be social distancing restrictions in place for players within a 5km distance of the courts.

Chairperson David Doyle said while the closure of the courts was a hard decision “it was the correct one to protect our members, our community, neighbours, family and friends.

“It was hard on our members and to remove another outlet of social interaction during this time of isolation but we have worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to ensure that the correct measures have now been put in place to reopen.”

Mark Finnegan, one of Ireland’s premier international sports recruitment consultants, also welcomed the reopening.

He’s well known for helping young Irish tennis players, through the process of getting a scholarship with in the US education system, as he did after many years training in Naas LTC.

Currently he has eight student-athletes waiting for the US embassy to reopen for visa appointments.

Fortunately the students signed binding agreements before the Covid-19 outbreak. If they had not, then their scholarships may not have been honoured.

Seven separate student-athletes are currently in universities and hoping they will be allowed to return to the US to continue their degree work on campus in autumn.

Others have opted to stay in America because they were worried about consequences of leaving and subsequently trying to re-enter the country.

There have been major obstacles to this process in recent weeks, especially for students returning or entering America on scholarships to study and compete.

Scholarship

One of these is Josh Roe Flannelly, son of Valerie Roe and her partner Denis Flannelly, who has won a scholarship to attend Binghamton University in the state of New York.

He is concerned because this area has been badly hit by the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak in that part of the US.

Josh hopes that some tournaments will take place this summer and that the US embassy will open up soon for him to have a visa on time to go — if the university does decide to have on-campus classes this autumn.

Predicted grades for the Leaving Cert will have a positive or negative effect on the prospects of some of the athletes hoping to enter university there.

However sitting the Leaving Cert at a later date is not an option because the exams take place too late - with the universities expected to open in mid-August.

So, for now, he continues to play at the club while awaiting clarification from the college and for the US emabssy to reopen.

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