THERE was double disappointment for the Dalriada Under-16 and Under-18 volleyball teams as they sought All-Ireland titles.
The Under 16 and Under 18 Girls Volleyball teams from Dalriada took on St Mary’s of Dublin for their respective All-Ireland Volleyball tussles. After much anticipation of the day the girls had gathered a good degree of support to what was basically a home fixture at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown.
The under 16 match was first of the day and Head Coach Dr Walker admitted that these girls had a real chance of bringing the Under 16 McDonalds Cup back to Co. Antrim for a third time.
However, after initial point for point trading the Dublin side pulled ahead with some magnificent float serving to take the first set 25-17.
The Dalriada girls came out fighting in the second set and matched their opponents point for point up until 16-16 but the Dublin girls again pulled ahead in a tighter set which finished 25-20 and this ended the match which was the best of three sets.
The Under 18 game was against a very experienced St. Mary’s side which had recently beaten the Under 20 Scotland International developmental squad 3-0 in a friendly.
The Dalriada girls, U16 All-Ireland winners from two years ago, knew they had to work very hard to win the Under 18 title from the current holders. The Ballymoney girls were well overpowered in the first set 25-9 and the physical size of the Dublin girls was just too much for the much smaller Dalriada side.
In the second set the game became much tighter and at one stage the set was tied 17-17 but the Dalriada girls could not hold on to the momentum after a few very quick attacks through the middle and the set closed out 25-18.
This match was the best of five sets and despite a spirited fight in the third set the Dublin side took it easily 25-16.
At the post match lunch, Head Coach of St. Mary’s, Mrs Maloney, paid great tribute to the Dalriada girls for how they played but on the day.
St. Mary’s girls were very worthy winners in both games with their speed at the net and their offensive volleyball was very difficult to defend against.
Dr Walker thanked the visitors for coming up to the fixture and he paid tribute to his players who still remained Northern Ireland Champions. Both teams would like to thank all of the supporters who travelled to Jordanstown on the day.