Elphin Volleyball News
It was a busy week for schools volleyball in Elphin Community College with the Senior Girls and the Cadette Girls and Boys all in action.
Elphin began their Caddette Volleyball season last week with both the girls and boys in first round action. After last years achievement in winning the All Ireland “C” title the girls were upgraded to Cadette A Level. The boys competition has been restructured this year with the first round determining which teams go into the A & B competition.
Elphin beat Claremorris 21 – 25, 25 – 13, 25 – 19.
With the vollyball tradition that Claremorris have in girls compeititon this was an outstanding result. The Elphin girls started the first set sluggishly with a series of unforced errors but as the game progressed the Elphin side kept in touch and led at 7 – 5. Claremorris had an extremely talented player in Eyna O’Connor and she opened up a lead of 6 points, 19 – 13 at a crucial stage in the set. Elphin could not close the gap and Claremorris closed out the set 25 – 21.
Ellphin were in confident mood going into the second set with Pookie Mitchell and Sarah Lambert setting really well for both Saffron Cull and Deborah Beirne. Indeed, it was Beirne that made the first significant breakdthrough with 5 unanswered points to lead 9 – 3 and then Bronagh Weston with 4 points to lead 15 – 9. Claremorris were rattled and dispite rallying to 13 – 16, Elphin’s Anna Higgins closed out the visitors with 9 points 25 – 13.
The final set began very evenly with both sides trading scorces and at 18 – 18 the games seemed to be going down to the wire until Saffron Cull stepped up to the service line. Her powerful serves into the heart of the Claremorris back court, had the Mayo girls in all sorts of trouble and Elpin finished off the set 25 – 19. ]
St Bridgets .v. Loughrea beat Elphhin 25 – 16, 25 – 16
After a titantic struggle againast Claremorris, Elphin began this match in an upbeat mood but were quickly remínded of the quality at this level. While the Elphin outfit fought bravely the reality was dawning that a lot of improvements are needed to match the standards of this Galway outfit. Elphin losing out in both sets.
St Raphaels Loughrea beat Elphin 25 – 13 25 – 20
After a tight beginning to the first set Raphaels began to dominate taking the lead at 13 – 8 and then 18 – 10 before a rally by Elphin reduced the lead to 18 – 13 St Raphaels responded and opened out a 23 – 13 before closing the set.
Elphin responded well to this challenge in the second set with Pookie Mitchell and Saffron Cull again prominent in leading the Elphin charge with Deborah Beirne and Sarah Lambert landing some fine scorces from the service line. The teams traded scorces throughout and at 20 – 18 Elphin had St. Raphael’s in trouble but a run of 4 points from the Galway side brought them to match point 24 – 18 Elphin reduced the lead to 24 – 20 but after a promising start to the day Elphin ended it as 3rd seed The girls know a lot of improvement is needed to continue in the competition but are up the challenge.
Saffron Cull, Bronagh Weston, Sarah Lambert, Deborah Beirne, Pooky Mitchell, Anna Higgins, Hazel Conroy, Breifne O’Rourke, Cherie Hook
The grouping for this round placed two teams from Elphin against two from St Louis Kiltimagh in a preliminary round of this years competition.
Elphin A vs Kiltimagh A 25 – 7, 23 – 25
Having agreed that the matches would be played on a two set basis the Elphin side knew that the first set was crucial if they were to progress to the A competition and destroyed their Mayo counterparts in the opening set. The setting from both D Brady and S Killoran was excellent while C Brady hit some fine spikes into the Kiltimagh defence. S Killoran always renowned for his serving ability effectively ended the first set openeng up a 21 – 5 lead before D Brady closed out the set. Elphin also got an early opportunity to try out their panel introducing Marron for Brady and Larkin for Sweeney.
The scond set was very different to the first. The boys from Mayo wounded from their earlier collapse came out strongly and even through Elphin continued to lead for large parts of the set they could never pull away as they had previously. Elphin still led at 22 – 20 but looked nervous and when Kiltimagh went 23 – 22 in front, the game was up with Kiltimagh winning the set 25 – 23
Elphin A bt Kiltimagh B
Elphin B opened their account with a tremendous win over Kiltimagh B. This young inexperienced side began nervously finding it diffuclt to adjust to the strategies of the game but as the game progressed players like D Lee, J Dwyer and A Kielty possessed real quality. S Duarte and C O’Connor also began to develop as setters and with D Beirne improving all the time the Elphin outfit fought bravely to win the first set 25 – 23.
With a new sense of confidence in the team coming through, the Elphin side opened up a 13 – 9 lead and then a 20 – 14 lead from some fine serving from S Duarte and D Lee. L McDermott also added some much needed shield into the defence as Elphin withstood a late Kiltimagh revival at 22 – 19 before Kielty closed out the set.
Other match results:
Elphin A be Kiltimagh B 25 – 10 25 – 10
Kiltimagh A bt Elphin B 25 – 16 25 – 18
Kiltimagh A bt Kiltimagh B 25 10 25 – 11
Elphin A Bt Elphin B 25 – 8 25 – 18
Elphin A Team:
Donal Brady, Cathal Brady, Conor Sweeney, Shane Killoran, Mark Brennan, Ryan Larkin, Daniel Marron, Gerard McDermottroe, Finbar McDermott.
Elphin B Team:
Aidan Murray, Sean Duarte, Christopher O’Connor, Dillon Beirne, Liam McDermott, James Dwyer, Padraig Neary, Darren Lee, Austin Kielty.
A dissappointing end to the girls senior volleyball season is the only way you could describe this semi-final defeat to Lisdoonvarna last Monday in Loughrea
Lisdoonvarna Bt Elphin 25 – 21 25 – 16
Elphin started the first set slowly but led 9 – 7 early on with some good scores coming from Fiona McCann and Deborah Beirne. Elphin at this stage were playing the better volleyball but their serving which had been consistent in previous rounds was letting them down. With Lisdoonvarna struggling, Elphin should have capitalised but 6 serves went without winning a single point and Elphin found themselves trailing 20 – 18. Lisdoonvarna closed out the set 25 – 21 but Elphin knew they had let it slip.
The girls went into the second set in a positive frame of mind but almost immediatley Lisdoonvarna had ceased the initiative. Elphin had served poorly in the previous set but Lisdoonvarna’s Lisa O’Brien had no such problem serving 9 points in a row to open up an 11 – 4 gap between the teams. Pookie Mitchell and Clare Cregg were doing their defensive best but Lisdoonvarna continued to have the upper hand. Denise O’Connor was substituted for Nicole Cawley and she and Sandra Oates covered well around the court.
Lisdoonvarna now led 22 – 8 and despite a late run of scores to bring it back to 22 – 14, Elphin had left it to late to make a come back. The girls will be disappointed in not making their first senior final and particuarly because they did not perform to their potential but they will be back next year and maybe can go that one step further.
Fiona McCann, Claire Cregg, Pooky Mitchell, Deborah Beirne, Kelly Flanagan, Nicole Cawley, Marie O’Reilly, Denise O’Connor, Sandra Oates.