By Chris Caldwell
FINTONA native, Jared Monaghan, and his Queen’s University Tennis Club team-mate, Chris Madden-McKee, will undertake an epic fundraising match from 8am this morning.
The pair will take to a court at Belfast Boat Club for a 12 hour encounter that they hope will help raise funds for the university’s tennis club and for Cancer Research UK.
Queen’s is hosting the varsity tournament this year that sees all the Irish universities go head-to-head, but after a failure to secure a funding grant last year, the tennis club has had to get creative in order to even pay for court hire!
“We are hosting the big Varsity tournament this year when all the Irish universities play against each other, which is quite a big thing to be doing, especially when we started the year with no money!”, explained Jared, who coaches at Omagh Lawn Tennis Club during his weekends back home.
“Last year, we missed out on about £1,200 or £1,300 of a funding grant, which was a massive hit.
“One of our major costs is the hiring of courts at Belfast Boat Club because we don’t actually have our own courts. Jordanstown have their own courts where they can just go a play whenever they want, but we don’t have anything with easy access.
“So basically we have to pay the Boat Club a load of money at the start of the year to be able to use their courts from 2pm-4pm every Wednesday all year.
“One of the main things last year was we didn’t have the £1,300 to pay the Boat Club so we met with Queen’s and had to do a financial plan to show how we could get the money back through doing a few fundraisers.”
With a quiz and a few other ideas floating about for follow-up fundraising activities, Jared and Chris first have to get through this 12 hour marathon match, which will be streamed live on Facebook.
They have planned for it well, getting sponsorship from food outlets along Botanic Avenue, so they can grab a quick bit of a Boojum or slice from Pizza Co to keep them well fuelled during what will be a gruelling ordeal.
And while they are planning to play for as many of the 12 hours as is humanly possible, barring change of ends, Jared is, surprisingly, looking forward to it!
“I only have the natural human reservations about how far my body can go but I’m really looking forward to it,” the second year International Business and Spanish student said, a little nervously!
“We have been saying for a while, because we at the tennis club get less Queen’s funding than the rugby and gaelic teams, for example, that we need to think of something to do to get more publicity for tennis and get ourselves out there a bit more.
“And while we’re doing it we thought we’d give 50 per cent to Cancer Research UK, who are great.
“We’re planning on doing more than this, this is just the start really!”
To find out how Jared ad Chris get on, pick up the Tyrone Herald on Monday and to donate to their fundraising efforts, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/themarathonmatch
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