Cork squash club to host top flight pros at tournament this weekend

Pictured L-R are: David Hannam, Sunday’s Well Club Secretary Manager; Derval O'Rourke, Tournament Ambassador; Greg O'Gorman, Club Squash Captain and Johnny Hurley, Tournament Director.

Some of the world’s top squash players are taking to the court in Cork this weekend for a very special tournament.

In a major coup for Sunday’s Well Boating and Tennis Club, world number 24, Joel Makin from Wales, who recently beat world number one, Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, will among the competitors at the annual Neily Sull Sunday’s Well Squash Open, which kicks off on Thursday night.

The tournament, renamed in 2016 in honor of the late Neil O’Sullivan, an avid squash player and club member who died suddenly, will also feature three other Professional Squash Association (PSA) players — Joshua Masters, the world’s number 50, Brian Byrne, Irish Senior International and Munster Open Champion 2018 and ranked 158 in the world, and Miles Jenkins, ranked 178, who has played over 50 PSA matches.

As well as four PSA players, 40 local players have been registered to play.

Sunday’s Well Club Squash captain, Greg O’Gorman, says this will be the first time in decades that a group of players of this calibre has come to Cork.

“Sunday’s Well is consistently investing in and upgrading our facilities to ensure we are at the highest level in Munster. Attracting some of the world’s best squash players to the Club is an indication of our future ambition — this will be the first of many such events held here in the coming years,” he said.

Tournament ambassador and three-time Olympian, Derval O’Rourke, says attracting international professional squash players at this level is a huge achievement for the club, and cited a recent Forbes magazine survey which rated squash as one of the healthiest sports in the world.

“Forbes consulted with personal trainers, coaches and exercise physiologists for this large-scale study,” she said.

“Ten sports were listed as being the healthiest in terms of cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular endurance, flexibility, calories burned in 30 minutes and risk injury, and squash took first place.”

In 2016, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published the results of a major study of more than 80,000 adults across England and Scotland revealing that the risk of death from any cause was 47% lower among those who played racket sports.

The study further suggested that regularly playing squash could help stave off death the longest.

Those who partake in racket sports such as squash, also have a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases such as strokes, according to the BMJ study.

The health benefits of squash are many and include calorie burning, improving aerobic fitness, boosting flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and concentration, and improving hand-to-eye coordination.

Cork is fortunate to have a squash club of an international standard at Sunday’s Well and this tournament promises to be a fantastic sporting event for Munster.”

Tournament director, Johnny Hurley, paid tribute to the event’s sponsors, including Niall O’Sullivan, son of the late Neil, of OSB Group; Jim Doherty of JD Scaffolding; Pat Keogh of Arema Connect; John Hurley of ICMS; Eamonn O’Keeffe of S Tyres and Tony Lyons of Fernroyd House B&B.

Matches will take place from 5.30pm on Thursday, December 6, with the semi-finals starting at 11.30am on Saturday, and the final at 5pm.

Sunday’s Well Boating and Tennis Club was founded in 1899, when lawn tennis, boating, card playing, billiards, fishing and cricket were its main pursuits.

Today, the activities include tennis, squash and snooker with social opportunities including bridge, golf, cycling and cricket.

The club has a gym, sauna and fitness studio and a charming old-world snooker room located in the original clubhouse building, equipped with two championship tables, antique scoreboards and classic cues.

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