Dalriada girls are the queens of volleyball

DALRIADA’s dominance of the girls’ volleyball scene in Northern Ireland continues with more title success.

After a long and hard fought season the Ballymoney school has won the Northern Ireland Girls U18 Schools League for the third consecutive year and also the Girls U16 League for the fifth time in seven years.

The Northern Ireland Volleyball Association said that this was the closest finish in years with the Under 18 team winning on set difference and the Under 16 team winning by individual set points difference after the top teams had an equal number of wins. The Under 18 and Under 16 teams trailed behind Armagh and Markethill High School respectively for most of the season but the Ballymoney girls saved their best performances to last to overcome the league leaders. The 2012 – 2013 season league was the biggest that the Northern Ireland Volleyball Association has had for years with over 46 teams competing for various league titles.

Dalriada Principal Tom Skelton said: “Volleyball at the school has grown to a massive extent with over 80 players involved in the club and I congratulate coaches Miss Montgomery, Dr Walker and Mr Nelson for their unbelievable winning streak.”

Head coach and Vice Principal at the school Dr Ian Walker, commented that the end couldn’t have been any closer and in every match they were pushing the girls to fight hard for every point because they knew it would be very close in the end and may come down to individual points gained in each set.

He added: “We are very proud of all the players but these two winning teams in particular have exceeded our expectations and will both now get the opportunity to compete at All-Ireland level. The girls are immensely excited at representing Northern Ireland in the prestigious North-South competition and we go this time with high expectations to bring the titles North of the border again. For many players involved in this the expectation on them couldn’t be any higher in youth volleyball.”

Under 16 Girls captain and Northern Ireland International, Ellen Monteith, said that she is extremely proud of her team because they “worked hard in training all year to come to this point and for many of them the stakes could not be higher than representing Northern Ireland at All-Ireland level”. The Under 18 Girls Captain and Northern Ireland Senior international player, Kerry Kirkpatrick, said: “As a past All-Ireland winner at Under 16 level I am proud to lead this team back to the same forum and I thank all of the coaches at the school for their hard work.”