History of the Club

The club was founded in 1980 and it has over the years participated at inter-club, provincial and international level. In fact it still competes at all these levels today. The two squash courts were built into the golf clubhouse during a reconstruction phase due to delapidation at the end of the 1970s. Squash was in the ascendency at the time and many courts were built all over Ireland.

 

The First Year

The courts were built over a number of months by local Thurles builders Kennedy & Co. and there was such demand for the game at the time that as soon as one court was finished it was opened for use whilst building work carried on in the second court! The membership quota was completely oversubscribed even before the first court was finished and a waiting list had to be compiled to deal with the surplus membership. The clubhouse officially opened on Wednesday 19th March 1980. Throughout March and April 1980 local sports stockists in Thurles placed ads in the Tipperary Star advertising the squash gear and clothing that they sold. The two main places for buying gear at the time were O’Meara’s on Liberty Square and Kilroy’s. The clubhouse also had squash equipment available for sale from the Club Steward.

Coaching

In the April 26th edition of the Star it was announced that the second court had opened and that coaching would soon be available for both beginners and more experienced players. The first coach it would seem was a P.E. teacher from Rockwell College called Greg Kenny who gave basic coaching on a Monday from 7.40 to 9.00pm. Another excerpt from the Star in May announced that a “coaching session for about 20 players will be held on Wednesday, 21st May at 8.30pm. Please give names to Eamon” Later Michael Hickey who was described as a former international in tennis and squash started coaching the ladies team on November 10th 1980 again on a Monday but due to the fact that many women were free during the day at the time he coached from 11.00-3.45pm with a 1hr 45 minute break for lunch! 

 

Bookings, Fines, Leagues & Ladders

The courts were “set for maximum activity” (Star, April 12th 1980) and failure to use the booked times entailed a 50p fine. This was quite a steep amount considering the junior membership at the time was £5 for the year. There was also a warning that there was to be no changing on the court balcony. In December 1980 the men’s changing rooms were opened and there was direct access to the courts through the men’s locker room (now blocked up). Booking the courts was possible by phone after 7pm and from 1.15-2.15 on weekdays. Court times had to be reduced to 30 minutes due to the high demand on the courts and a stamps system was introduced for Court 2 for 70p per stamp which was then affixed to the booking sheet. The first internal club league was sponsored by the Bank of Ireland and there were eight seven-man teams from A to H. There was also an internal ladies league which was again sponsored by BOI. The club ladder suffered the same problems it does today with not enough activity lower down the order. A minimum of one challenge a month was expected or otherwise names would be removed. 

 

Local League & Interclub

Even in its first year of opening the club competed against other local clubs. The early rival appears to have been Clonmel Rowing Club and the league entered was the Tipperary Mixed Championship. Another team Thurles seemed to play against at the time was Clonmantagh near Urlingford. 

The club recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.