We were treated to a fantastic day of volleyball at the U16 Girls A National Finals as the very best schools in the country gathered to battle it out for the coveted title.
The top 6 schools had an early start as we got proceedings underway at 10am sharp in Galway. One large pool meant all teams would have the opportunity to compete against each other in the round robin stage. A Loughrea derby of St Brigid’s and St Raphael’s saw Court 2 get off to an incredible start with the Raphael’s girls clawing back from 24-20 to take the win 26-24. Over on Court 1 St Mary’s College, Naas went up against Dublin’s Rockford Manor and lay down an early marker that they were here for gold with a 25-10 victory.
Defending champions Holy Family also produced a solid first set win of 25-9 over St Brigid’s. With Colaiste Muire losing 22-25 to St Mary’s the seedings were starting to take shape already.
As the day progressed and we neared our final group games the table and fight for 2nd place was heating up. Holy Family sealed top spot and a chance to play against 4th place. This was to be St Raphael’s (who only lost out on 2nd by points difference). In semi Final 2 St Mary’s would face Colaiste Muire who were improving game by game and eventually captured 2nd spot from St Marys in 3rd.
On Court 1 the St Raphael’s girls were not willing to let Holy Family overrun them as they had done in the earlier group match. Both teams put on an amazing game of attack and defence. However, in the end Holy Family progressed onward, 25-18, 25-17.
On Court 2 Colaiste Muire continued to go from strength to strength to overcome St Mary’s College 2-0 and also book themselves a final place.
A worthy final that was filled with young internationals and players from VLY. regional development centres meant some exciting and well controlled volleyball for our spectators. Holy Family who hadn’t waivered all day started very strongly to take the first set 25-15. Although Colaiste started well in the 2nd set and went point for point with the Newbridge school they were ultimately undone by a confident and well drilled team. 25-19
MVP- Eimear Byrne Holy Family SS