25th January 2019

THEY DID IT!!! The RCC Volleyball Ladies, have made history. They were crowned All-Ireland Champions last Wednesday after they defeated Scoil Mhuire Strokestown.

On the 23rd of January, our RCC ladies travelled to The Watershed Sports Centre in Kilkenny where they faced Scoil Mhuire Strokestown in the Cadet C All-Ireland Final. It was a big day for our ladies. This time last year our Cadet team had reached the first All-Ireland Final, however, they were defeated by their neighbours Meán Scoil Mhuire gan Smál Roscommon. Our RCC Ladies were determined to avoid repeating last year's result but they knew it would be tough. Strokestown and RCC have always had tight, competitive games so it was anticipated to be a very exciting and close encounter. 

After the official warm up, the national anthem and an introduction to the two teams, the game commenced. Both teams started off well, there was no more than a two point gap between the teams for the first couple of shots, each displaying great skills and super teamwork. It was clear from the outset that whoever became victorious that it would not come easy. The first game was full of thrills as all players committed to their shots, supported one another and delivered some excellent serves and return shots. Unfortunately, our girls found themselves down as we approached the latter part of the first game, Strokestown being the first to hit the 23 mark, with RCC trailing by 3. With only two points separating Strokestown from taking the first set, could our girls manage to take back control? Shauna Clogher, stepped up to serve after a strong rally which was ended by a magnificent return shot from Tara Naughton. Clogher’s serves gave the girls hope, with her overhand power the Strokestown girls struggled to return her shots and RCC then found themselves level at 23 all. The end of the game showed fantastic skill and talent from both teams as the two remained focused and composed, not allowing the pressure of such a big day get to them. Thankfully for RCC, Siafra Finnernan stepped up to serve as both teams were tied at 25 apiece. She served two wonderful serves and despite Strokestown’s return shots, RCC showed that they were here for one thing and one thing only, the title, winning the first set 27-25.                

The girls knew the cup was within their reach. After a brilliant performance our ladies had high hopes for the second set. While RCC may have thought the opposition would accept defeat, the Strokestown girls proved that they were not going to give in that easily. They were the first off the mark in the second set and kept their advantage for the majority of the game. Soon our girls were down 20-13, the Strokestown girls had some amazing serves and worked very well together which played a major role in boosting their confidence. After a quick time out the RCC ladies were forced to make a decision, accept the game was gone out of reach or fight for the set. It was clear what decision the girls had made when Ellie Lohan smashed the ball into the opposition’s court resulting in a point for our team. Again, Shauna Clogher’s serves got the girls back on track as well as controlled digs from Ina Van Opstal and strategic return shots from Rachael Tarmey and Tara Naughton. The girls had not only narrowed the gap, but were now ahead 24-23. One point away from the win. One point away from an All-Ireland Title. One point away from making history in RCC. Could they do it? Could they keep their nerve? Could they be crowned champions? In the midst of a misunderstanding between one of the referees and Strokestown, Rachael Tarmey was given the signal from the first referee to serve the ball over to the opposition’s side and there is where the ball stayed. They had done it. They had made history. They were champions. 

For a bunch of girls who train in all types of weather outdoor to win an All-Ireland, one cannot help but be filled with utter pride at what this fantastic group of ladies have achieved. They have trained incredibly hard since October, taking every opportunity to practice and become better players. They have made history in RCC, the first ever team to bring home an All-Ireland title. While some of the girls themselves may not fully grasp what they have achieved, their triumphant success will live on in the RCC history books. One thing is for sure, the memory of Captain Ina Van Optsal lifting the cup as Conor Flood (Volleyball Ireland's Developmental Coordinator) announced ‘Your 2019 All-Ireland Cadet C Champions are Roscommon Community College’ will be forever be etched in their mind. A huge congratulations to the team: Ina Van Opstal (Captain), Tara Naughton, Ellie Lohan, Shauna Clogher, Rachael Tarmey, Siafra Finneran, Roksana Ptak, Caoimhe Leonard, Zara Grehan, Selina Armasu, Katie Cronin, Myah Mc Cormack and their coaches Ms. Gunn and Ms. Tully on an unbelievable achievement. 

Very well done to each and every one who was involved on the day. Thank you to the students who travelled the great distance to show their support for the ladies and Mr. Devaney, Ms. Fleming and Ms. Hayden who accompanied them. Thank you to Lauryn Flaherty and Gabriela Papuga who assisted the referees on the day. Thank you to Ms. Keena and Ms. Lohan for their continuing support in promoting the game and to all the students and staff at RCC for their kind words and messages since returning back with the cup.

Our girls have displayed that with hard work, determination and a belief in oneself, you will achieve. Well done.

Team as per photo:

Back Row (L-R): Zara Grehan, Caoimhe Leonard, Tara Naughton, Ellie Lohan, Shauna Clogher and Siafra Finneran


Front Row (L-R): Ina Van Opstal (captain), Katie Cronin, Rachael Tarmey, Roksana Ptak, Myah Mc Cormack and Selina Armasu.   

Captain, Ina Van Opstal, is cheered on by her team as she proudly lifts the cup