ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONS!

DALRIADA Under 16 girls volleyball team won the All-Ireland Schools competition in style on Wednesday after a tense and exciting game against St. Brigid’s of Kilkenny.

The County Antrim girls bring the title to Northern Ireland for the second time in 26 years. Unfortunately the senior Under 18 girls could not emulate the achievements of their junior Dalriada counterparts.

After winning their domestic leagues Dalriada Under 16 and Under 18 girls came off a magnificent season to earn their place at the annual All-Ireland Volleyball finals where they qualified to compete against the best schools south of the border.

The junior girls faced St. Brigid’s of Kilkenny whereas the seniors faced St. Raphael’s of Galway. The County Antrim school has reached the finals four times before and both managed to win in 2009.

Dr ian Walker, head volleyball coach at the school said “we are particularly proud of this win.

“With a lot more schools playing volleyball in the south we have been informed that this is only the second time the Under 16 title comes north of the border in 26 years,” he said.

“The juniors were ecstatic to win and their game went right to the wire with us losing the first set 25-11, winning the second 25-19 and clinching the deciding set 28-26 by the necessary two clear points only. It’s just a pity that the senior girls could not also win their title but despite playing extremely well they faced an excellent Galway school who were in top form. Everyone at the school is particularly proud of volleyball and two years of solid training by the juniors and four years for the seniors has certainly paid off. Before the finals the juniors lost no sets out of 40 played and those are amazing statistics.”

It has been another massive year for volleyball at the school with international representation from three boys and six girls the sport continues to play a prominent role and Dalriada continues to produce players of an excellent standard for a variety of clubs and country. The teams would like to thank the support of all their teachers including coaches Dr Walker and Mr Nelson in particular. They would also like to thank the supporters on the day who were on the road for five hours to be there.