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Sam Bothwell's Irish success continues a tradition

Sam Bothwell

Sam Bothwell maintained a proud family tradition on Saturday when he claimed the Under 18 boys' singles title at the Irish Junior Championship in Dublin. The Hillsborough teenager defied the odds and the seedings for the third time in as many days when he defeated second-ranked Coilin McNamara 1-6 7-5 7-5 in the final.

Bothwell, who was ranked fifth, had earlier beaten the first and fourth seeds on his way to lifting the title at the premier junior tournament in Ireland.

His mother Louise won the girls' title in 1977, at the age of 15, while older brother Peter lifted the U16 boys' trophy in 2011. Sam, who previously lifted the U12 title at the Fitzwilliam tournament, says that his brother was instrumental in his success on Saturday.

The 16-year-old will follow in Peter's footsteps next month when he joins him to continue his studies and his tennis career at the Soto Academy in southern Spain.

"I trained with Peter at Soto for two weeks before the tournament and was so pleased to have the the Academy Director, Dan Kiernan, at Fitzwilliam on the Wednesday and Thursday," he said.

"Peter came back on Friday evening to warm me up before the final and support me in it and that was a great help as well."

Sam, who is funded by his parents and the Mary Peters Trust, will now turn his attention to clocking up junior world ranking points over the next few months, competing in ITF tournaments.

Mum Louise acknowledged: "It will be a big challenge to support both Peter and Sam's tournament schedule but, hopefully, with Peter making a bit of history being the province's first world ranked male we can now generate some financial support.

"Both boys are hard workers and ambitious and they want to promote Northern Ireland tennis on the world stage."

Bothwell finished runner up in the boys' doubles final, as did the McCullough sisters, Windsor players, Caitlin and Annie, in the corresponding girls' event.

Belfast Telegraph