The latest season at the Garda Volleyball club has been possibly the most eventful to date since the clubs inception in 2003.
Having previously only consisting of a mens team, the decision was taken at the Club AGM to enter a womens team into National Competition. Operating within the club constitution Club members set about recruiting Garda members to compete with those who had been training with their male counterparts. Whilst it was a difficult beginning for the ladies team in competition, it has set the foundations for what is hoped will be a successful sporting outlet for female members of An Garda Siochana.
The club also involved itself in the promotion of Volleyball at grass roots level by assisting the running of the Volleyball Association of Ireland run J4 programme which involves full time coaches instructing transition year secondary school students in teaching the fundamentals of Volleyball to boys and girls in their local areas. The club procured corporate sponsorship for the coaching uniform of these transition year students.
The mens team, competing in their fourth season of the National League, began the season with possibly our strongest squad to date. The mens team finished the league season in joint fifth with exact same points and set difference as the Limerick based cbphoto.ie team. The domestic highpoint for the season was in the men reaching the final of the National Junior Cup held at the UCD Sports complex over the weekend of the 14/15 April 2007. The men lost narrowly in a 5 set thriller to cbphoto.ie in a match in which ebbed and flowed for its entire duration. Garda Eamon O’Brien from Blanchardstown Garda Station received the tournament MVP award.
In representative events, the club competed in the Annual Garda / Defence Forces challenge which this year was hosted at the Garda College, Templemore. The Garda team who had not beaten the defence forces team in the two previous meetings, fielded a team consisting of a combination of players from the mens and womens teams and triumphed 3-1.
On the international front, the Garda Volleyball Club sent a team to compete in the World Police & Fire Games which was held in Adelaide, Australia from the 16th to the 25th March 2007. It was a first taste of this level of competition for 9 of the 11 players of the travelling party. The opening ceremony for this event was held at the world famous Adelaide Oval Cricket Ground in front of an estimated 30,000 people.
Playing in World Class Venues with a similar level of administrative, infrastructural and Medical facilities, the team raised its game competing in the 6 a side tournament and was pooled against teams from Switzerland, Australia and Finland. In the two a side competition, Mark Campbell from Pearse Street and Eamon O’Brien from Blanchardstown managed to negotiate South African, Brazilian, Swiss and Finnish opposition before succumbing in the Quarter Final to a pairing from Barcelona who later won the Gold medal in the mens senior Beach Competition. The Club have already set plans in motion to compete at the next World Police & Fire Games in British Colombia, Canada in 2009.
Overall it was a season of great progress both on and off court for the Garda Volleyball Club and with careful planning and direction between the club, its officers and Club Coach, Des Currivan, our continued success can be ensured.
Report by Mark Campbell (Secretary, Garda VC - firstname.lastname@example.org,
087 2451407 )