6th April 2017
Our Girls’ Junior Volleyball team made it through to the top 12 teams in Ireland in the Junior Volleyball Cup All-Ireland Quarter Finals. On the 31st of March, our girls travelled to Loughrea where they had to battle it out against St. Brigid’s College and Colaiste Mhuire Ennis, with only the top team on the day making it through to the All-Ireland Semi Final.
It was a tough ask for our ladies, coming up against two schools who have been in the game for a very long time. Both schools are renowned for their volleyball success but this didn’t seem to phrase our girls. First they faced Colaiste Mhuire which it was an excellent game to watch. While our girls appeared nervous at the beginning, failing to call names and support one another, they soon got into the swing of things. Unfortunately for them, Ennis appeared to be too far ahead to make a comeback and RCC was beaten in their first game 25-18. The girl’s pulled themselves together in the second and despite their best effort, they were defeated on the narrowest score line; 25-23.
This meant it was do or die for the RCC ladies in their final match against St. Brigid’s, the girls knew they must win to be in a chance to make it through and this pressure seemed to get to them as the first game was over in a matter of minutes on a score line of 25-5. As strange as this may sound, this loss seemed to settle our girls as they knew that they had nothing to lose, they were told to go out and enjoy the game; play the shots they knew they can play; support one another and work together. It is here that our girls played the best volleyball that they have ever played before; their digs, sets up and return shots were impeccable. The more the girls played, the better they got and the girls made it clear in the first few rallys that St. Brigids were not going to be taking this game as easy as the first. It was battle that the girls were determined to win and with both sides producing wonderful shots and displaying excellent skill, it was tough to call. Thankfully, all the girls’ hard work paid off as the game finished on a nail-biting 25-23 score line. This led to a tie-breaker game, first to 15. Both teams had shown great work ethic and team work and this continued into the final game. Both team showed how much this game meant to them, but in the end, it was St. Brigid’s ladies who came out on top, beating our girls 15-10. Following on from such a dramatic game, St. Brigid’s went on to beat Ennis comfortably meaning they now progress to the All-Ireland Semi-final.
In spite of the heart-breaking result, it is clear that the RCC volleyball team has great potential. Our girls have now seen the true standard of the Junior Volleyball Cup Division and they now know what they need to do to go further in these competitions. This team has reached the All-Ireland stages three times in two years (spikeball and volleyball) and there is no doubt that if the girls continue to work hard, develop their skills and work as a team that they will one day become champions. Very well done to every single team member. Remember to keep working, keep trying and never give up because one day, you will reap the rewards.
Back row (l-r): Riesse Donlon, Ina Van Opstal, Orla Bishop, Tara Naughton, Caoimhe Leonard and Zara Grehan.
Front row (l-r): Lauren Flaherty (Assistant Coach), Julia Kesek, Shauna Clogher, Kirstin Cronin and Eve Smyth.