Records published through the the Leinster Express indicate that Portarlington Lawn Tennis club was competing from as early as 1892.
Portarlington’s history of tennis which stretches back more than 130 years was introduced by some of the town’s local schools. In 1894 the Leinster Express reported on a special tournament restricted to lady members only. The club was one of the top social spots of the district at the time, however membership was restricted to a local elite. Many young men and women had their application for membership rejected, based on social standing.
In the spring of 1921 a second club was formed on lands owned by MR Russell of Russell Sawmills alongside the canal. This club was called the Bohemian Tennis Club of Portarlington. The two clubs existed until 1939, when they merged.
In 1939 the original Portarlington Lawn Tennis Club was in some financial difficulty while the Bohemians, with many members from a commercial background had funds in hand. There was trouble with the site on the canal being shared with a local hockey club. It was agreed the Bohemians would take over the grounds on Station Road, and pay any outstanding debts of the club. Within a very short time the club finances were back in order and many new members joined.
Today the committee look to further integrate the tennis club into the local community to ensure the legacy of the club lives on into the further.
With thanks to Ronnie Matthews R.I.P.