0The All Ireland Schools Final was another cracking day of Volleyball action as St Flannan's, Ennis, Drumbshanbo VS, Leitrim and Holy Family SS, Newbridge added another trophy to their 2019/20 collection, whilst Colaiste Mhuire, Ennis lost a thrilling 5-setter in the u18s Girls Finale.
u16 Girls All Ireland Final: Holy Family 2-0 Portadown College
The Newbridge clubs unrivalled unbeaten Secondary Schools record was extended as they brushed aside their Craigavon counterparts 25-16, 25-18. Despite a slow start the girls in red triumphed with some hard hitting at the net as Sophie Quinlivan-Nolan dominated the opening set. Libero Frances Petrofouva was assured as usual, but didn't need to back up her MVP performance from last week in Galway as Kate O'Connor and setter Tara Mae Nolan took control of the second.
All in all a professional performance from a team which must be eyeing up a shot at Senior Cup glory in 2021?
u16 Boys All Ireland Final: Drumshando VS 2-1 Campbell College
Tension was high in our first match that went the distance as the lads from Leitrim held on to win a thrilling and nervy Cadet final 25-20, 25-27, 25-22. Drumshanbo started brightly building a steady lead before the men in black nearly stole the show. In fact, if it wasn't for some acute serving from Danny McWeeney the title could have easily gone up the M1, with Luke Johnstone particularly good. However, Conor Flood and Radaslaw Oberwan kept nerves under control to see out the win in the decider.
u18s Girls All Ireland Final: Colaiste Mhuire 2-3 Dalraida College
Another 5-set final for the Ennis team, but unfortunately this one didn't quite go their way. They did however, fly into an 8-0 lead in the first before a spirited comeback from the Ballymoney side. After winning the first 25-13 the expectation was Colaiste would fly on, but a team littered with NI Internationals showed great spirit to wrestle the match back and claim the second and third sets 25-21, 25-20.
Maria Jones was powerful on the wing and Edith Kearney and Una Ni Choileann were racking up points down the middle as Colaiste claimed the 4th 25-14. The decider swung back and forth and at 11-9 it looked like the title was going to Ennis. As mentioned earlier the fight on Ballymoney was evident and the height of Lauren Forcrave useful as her skills at the net meant Dalraida ran out winners 15-13.
The game lasted over 2 hours and is testament to the athleticism of all players that the standard was maintained throughout. It will be little consolation to the Clare team that they won 12 more points overall, but it shows the competitiveness of both teams.
Boys u18 All Ireland Final: St Flannans 3-0 Campbell College
There was some silverware heading West as Flannan's added another accolade to their impressive collection defending their trophy, despite being without their leader Cathal Dwyer who is continuing his work with Narbonne VC in France. Cian Humphreys and Cillian O'Riardain were unstoppable throughout the match, and assisted by accurate setting from Jesus Saya they were too hot to handle. It's clear they've been working hard in recent months both technically and physically.
The Ennis team didnt quite have it their own way though, as Campbell College backed by a vociferous support fought back strongly and in fact there was only a 10 point gap across the three sets, as Flannan's top the prize 25-19, 25-23, 25-23.
For many of these players their focus now turns to representing Ireland in the Small Countries Association Championship in April. You can back Team Green through the teams crowdfunding page.... https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/team-green-supporting-irish-volleyball/
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