The ‘Friendship Tournament’ featured the Danish club Farum & Halte, as well as teams representing East and West Ireland, as well as representative sides from the Northern Ireland Volleyball Association. In total, over 180 players descended on County Meath for a weekend of 5set matches, training and coach knowledge transfer. The aim of the event is to help young players learn, grow and develop in a supportive and positive International environment.
The action began on Friday evening with team training, followed by competitive games on the Saturday, social entertainment during the evening and on Sunday morning a chance to play Sitting Volleyball and be coached by leaders from other teams – this gave coaches a great chance to share ideas, concepts and philosophies. For the Danish team the Friday included a sightseeing trip in Dublin City, and of course a visit to the Viking Splash Tour!
Jessica Panke Wagner of Farum & Halte VC said, “The event was a perfect mix of serious volleyball, social activities and fun, in a setting with great facilities in the Gormanston Sports Complex. We had 30 boys and girls from 11 to 15 years of age attending across our youth teams, who all have returned with memories that will last them a lifetime.”
Conor Flood, Volleyball Ireland’s development officer who led the project added, “it was a fantastic weekend of Volleyball with a great energy and buzz. We really wanted to give young players a taste of a weekend competition and what it’s like to play against international teams. The feedback has been excellent and we will grow the concept next year opening up entries to other club teams from across Europe. The friendly nature of the event meant coaches were sharing ideas and philosophies and hopefully taking this back to their clubs to help improve Volleyball for everyone – that’s what it’s all about.”
All players and coaches stayed in on-site accommodation for two nights, helping them become familiar with a standard setup for International tournaments. General Manager of Volleyball Ireland Gary Stewart added, “One of the learnings from our entry in the u16 CEV Zonal competition earlier this year was that our players need more experience before they play internationally, as for a teenager it can be quite daunting. The idea behind this is to help them become familiar with a trip away.”
Volleyball Ireland would like to thank Farum & Halte Volleyball Club and Irish native Dave Colgan for their support getting the event off the ground. Details on the 2020 event will be announced shortly.