In the Under 18 NI Schools League Dalriada entered three teams into their regional qualification tournament.
Two girls and one boys team travelled to Belfast to compete in their qualification brackets and all three teams emerged for the Finals Playoff.
In the Boys game a strong team, led by Captain Ewan Rogers, overcame five other schools including reigning champions Campbell College and in the girls the A team came up against a strong Portadown College side which proved to be the best match with the Dalriada girls putting up an excellent performance to deny the Portadown side the top seed going into the Finals Playoff. The B Team also qualified despite a few earlier defeats and a tense battle with local rivals, Coleraine Grammar Girls.
The Finals Playoff day was unfortunately played during our half-term holiday and coaches Dr Walker and Mrs Montgomery were forced to play younger players from Year 12 with many key players on holiday. In the Senior Boys Finals the young side were outplayed by Armagh losing the match 25-19, 25-23. Mrs Montgomery could only look on as her younger side did their best against the team which went onto win the league. Due to senior Players being away, the Girls B team also comprised of Year 12 and they performed amazingly beating Portadown College and Lismore Comprehensive but the emerging champions were the A team who were unbeaten in eight matches now without losing a single set of volleyball. The team now face their Nemesis, St. Marys of Naas, Dublin for the All-Ireland Title. This will be the third time the two schools have contested the final with St. Mary’s winning the last two. The Dalriada girls will do all they can to overturn the result this time.
NI Schools Under 16 League - The under 16 volleyball at the school is going through a time when there is a wealth of players in Year 11 and 12, many of whom have gained international caps already. It is no wonder the Dalriada Girls were clear favourites to retain the NI title having three players from Year 12 and four from Year 11 on Northern Ireland Development Squads.
The Year 12 Girls were unstoppable the entire season and were joined by the Year 11 girls in qualifying out of their regional bracket for the Northern Ireland Finals Day. Coaches Dr Walker and Mrs Montgomery knew both squads were strong. However strong teams from Markethill and Lismore, Craigavon stood in their way. The best match was between Dalriada B Girls and a strong Markethill Side. The younger Dalriada side managed to win their first set of the day 25-22. However, the Ballymoney girls made some vital errors in the second set to allow Markethill back winning a close second set 26-24. Mary Parkash, captain of the Dalriada B team put a lot of serving pressure on their opponents to win through on the deciding set. The Dalriada A team looked very strong and didn’t give Lismore much of a foothold in their semi-final. The girls powered their way to the match against their younger side and started their final match with an element of nervousness although they managed to win both sets 25-22 and 25-18. Mrs Montgomery and Dr Walker were both elated that their Under 16 Girls teams were placed in the top two positions. It certainly bodes well for the future of Under 16 Volleyball at Dalriada. Jill Leslie’s Year 12 Squad now face St. Raphael’s, Galway in their All-Ireland clash.