The origins of St Mary’s Lawn Tennis Club go back to 1947/48 when four enthusiastic past pupils of St Mary’s College, Rathmines, Matt Gilsenan, Bill Fagan, Dick Swan and Derek Corrigan founded the club in the college sports grounds in Kenilworth Square.
The membership at that time was confined to past students of the college and members of the rugby club, with associate lady members. However it wasn’t long before increasing numbers in the school and an expanding rugby club put heavy demands on the grounds in Kenilworth Square and forced the Tennis Club to seek alternative premises.
From 1952 to 1953 the Club had a brief sojourn in Mount Tallant, Harolds Cross and in l954 moved to its present home, which was bought from Percy Lawn Tennis Club, the grounds themselves having been in use as a tennis club since 1908. Six grass courts and a croquet green were provided. The croquet green however, was not a success and the area was used as a general recreation green and proved an ideal location for marquees to enable the ‘at homes’ to be celebrated by all.
The club continued to thrive and in 1964/65 extensions were added to the pavilion to give extra shower and dressing rooms. The first hard courts were laid in 1967. The weekly dances, at this time, were highly popular and an important part of the local social scene as well as a profitable source of income.
During the 1970s the Club did well in competition, particularly the women’s teams which won outright four Winter Leagues and three Class 11 Summer Leagues and the men’s teams won outright twice.
The early 1980s saw the addition of some flood lighting and the upgrading of facilities to all weather courts. Many unforeseen difficulties, including an underground stream, had to be overcome but the courts were ready for use in 1981. Another difficulty was in obtaining planning permission for a new entrance to the club’s premises. There were objections from local residences but these were resolved and the new entrance was put in. The club house was also refurbished and new heating and shower system installed. In the same year the club also visited West Germany and were guests of Grun-Weiss Tennis Club, Schlass Holte, Stukenbrok. This was in return for their very pleasant visit here in 1968 and the ties with the club still remain.
In 1992 a bar license was secured for the club and the newly built bar extension was opened by Pat Kenny. The following year the practice wall and half court were added. In 1995 the courts were updated to omni pro surface and additional floodlighting was installed.
In 2009 the clubhouse facilities were totally renovated and our courts were resurfaced. St Mary’s now boasts state of the art facilites for the enjoyment of the members.
The future of the club lies in the hands of its members. We are very proud of the recent achievements of our men’s Summer League Team Class V1 who won outright this year as well our international players Des and Jack Delaney and our inter provincials Frank Cinnamond and Simon Gordon. We are also very proud of the spirit of sportsmanship and friendship that defines the club and we look forward with optimism to the future.