Drumshanbo Bs almost land major shock

There were two Laois school trainers standing side by side watching as Drumshanbo B volleyballers played out of their skins and won the first set in their National quarter-final match.

There were two Laois school trainers standing side by side watching as Drumshanbo B volleyballers played out of their skins and won the first set in their National quarter-final match.

Portlaoise College A beat Drumshanbo VS B 23-25 25-18 25-23

There were two Laois school trainers standing side by side watching as Drumshanbo B volleyballers played out of their skins and won the first set in their National quarter-final match.

One was heard to remark to the other “these seem to be a lot stronger than we expected”! In the end, the older Laois side prevailed but this young B panel can be very pleased with their performance.

This bunch came into the match with the joys of a day out from school and knowing they liked a game of volleyball together as a gang. But then it turned out to be one of their best days.

Conor Prior, shot them straight away into a 3-0 lead. His return of serve later also meant that Drumshanbo could launch counter attacks.

Darren Earley, due to his high training turnout, was finally rewarded with his first start and played his best game ever for Drumshanbo, with serves and defence. Likewise, also rewarded for his training turnout, Donal McNulty also hit a service winner and defended well.

Portlaoise, after trailing 8-4 did respond and broke the next three servers immediately but Drumshanbo stayed just ahead and forced a Laoise time out at 16-13.

Manager Sean Scollan had promised as many as possible that they would get playing but the subs very unselfishly said “don’t change the side” and only on the insistence of McNulty that someone else should now get a go, was he replaced by Kevin Moran second year.

Good setting and serving from Joseph Baxter ensured Drumshanbo took the first set, leaving them in shock. They now realised they could win. But this tightened them up and errors allowed Portlaoise to gain a huge lead in the second set.

Only then did Drumshanbo relax and the set finished with Baxter giving the biggest serve run of the match but it was too late.

Portlaoise led from the start of the final set. Declan Kelly, also making his starting debut, had hit a spectacular spike in the second set, and now got the first service winner. Colm McLoughlin, the captain, pulled out two aces and set up Prior for a winner on his 3rd serve and Portlaoise just lead 13-12 at the turnover.

Portlaoise gained a slight lead late on in the set but, just as late in the first set, young Moran hit a late service run and the score went to 23-24. It was not to be, but most of this all-new cadette B team will be still young enough next year and now they know what they can do.

Drumshanbo B Panel (Serves in brackets): McLoughlin (capt) 5, Prior 12, Earley 6, Baxter 10, Kelly 5, McNulty 3, Moran 12, Diarmuid Beirne, Shane Clarke, Patrick Meehan and Liam Brady. Michael Rynn and Caolan Carty were sick.