O’Toole set for top tennis in US

By Stephen Leonard

TEMPLEOGUE Tennis Club’s Ciara O’Toole is gearing up for the start of an exciting four-year scholarship in Campbell University in North Carolina in August.

Only turning 18 yesterday, the Terenure woman has seen her young career really take off in recent seasons, earning the necessary Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) to see her receive the scholarship.

Templeogue TC 04

Templeogue Tennis Club's Ciara o'Toole will travel to the United States in August to begin a 4 year scholarship at Campbell University in North Carolina

Indeed following a year at the Mouratoglou Academy in Nice when she was 16, O’Toole spent the following season travelling to international tourna-ments in the likes of Finland, Sweden, Croatia, England and France in an effort to improve her ranking.

What’s more, she spent some four weeks travelling and competing with the Finnish National team, under Head Coach Stephen Host.

Reaching the Under 18 Final in the Irish Championships before teaming up with Shankill’s Ellie Murphy to win the Under 16/18 Girls Doubles at last month’s National Junior Open in Templeogue, O’Toole attracted interest from a number of universities in the US having been recommended by former US coach David Mullins.

She travelled there in January after narrowing down her choice to three colleges before deciding on Campbell University having been impress-ed with the set-up there and coach Michelle Dasso, a former Fed Cup player for the USA.

“It was amazing that I could go a see these colleges and I knew that Campbell University was the one I wanted after seeing it” O’Toole told The Echo.

“The girls there were just so welcoming and the coach was the main factor behind my decision.

“She [Dasso] is quite similar to my old coach in her coaching patterns. She focuses not so much on winning but more on where you place every ball. It was just about going back to basics and I really liked that” she said.

The move will see O’Toole competing at a very high level with Camp-bell University having made it as far as the semi finals of the Division One Conference this season.

O’Toole, whose younger sister Orla is also a promising tennis and hockey player, previously competed at a high level in both table tennis and hockey before settling on tennis as her primary sport.

She was coached by Federico Raffo in Templeogue Tennis Club and her school, Our Lady’s Terenure have played their part in her progress by facilitating her academic requirements in the midst of all her international travel.

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