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04/08/2021

Offaly's amazing connection to Wimbledon tennis tournament

Offaly's amazing connection to Wimbledon tennis tournament

Manliffe Francis Goodbody from Clara played at Wimbledon in the late 1800s

LAST weekend saw the Men's Single Final at Wimbledon between Djokovic and Berrettini - but did you know one of Clara's own featured in both the men's singles and doubles in the late 1800's

Let Tara McGrath of Clara Heritage Group introduce you to "Manliffe Francis Goodbody" (1868-1916).

Manliffe was the son of Marcus Goodbody and Hannah Woodcock Perry and was born in Inchmore House, (formerly St. Anthony's) on 17 November, 1868.

A keen sportsman, he excelled at both Tennis and Soccer and played for the Irish Football Team during the 1889-1892 seasons when a student at Trinity College Dublin.

In 1890 he began to play tennis seriously winning regional events in the UK, before embarking on a trip to the US in 1892 where he competed in the US National Tennis Championship where he lost in the final against Robert Wrenn

In 1889 and 1893 he reached the Quarter Finals of Wimbledon.

He also participated in the Queen's Club Championship in 1895 (losing in the final), before winning the 1897 French Covered Courts Championship in Paris.

In total Manliffe won a total of 15 titles over his tennis career.

Sadly, Manliffe died in 1916 during World War 1 when the ship on which he was a passenger, the SS Sussex was torpedoed by a German U boat in the English Channel.

As a Quaker he did not enlist for war service but served as an Inspector with the C Division of the London Metropolitan Special Constabulary.

He is buried in Putney Vale Cemetery, Wimbledon a short distance from the coveted centre courts of SW19.

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