Drumshanbo VS to Kiltimagh, 25 - 14, 19 - 25, 25 - 27.
This National cadette B volleyball quarter-final could have gone either way and Drumshanbo were unlucky to face such a determined opponents in a nail biting end. For the first set and for most of the third set Drumshanbo looked in a different class to their opponents.
Kiltimagh couldn’t cope with the superior serving and spiking from the Leitrim school. Indeed it was hard to believe in anything but an easy Drumshanbo win. But twice in the game, in the second and, more seriously, at the end of the third set, Kiltimagh suddenly changed gear. Suddenly they covered the court completely, letting nothing hit the ground on their side while pelting Drumshanbo with strong hits to the back, time after time. These long hits put Drumshanbo on the defensive and, losing long rally after long rally, they were caught on the finishing line.
Lubomir Schusterovi got Drumshanbo underway with service, catching the opposition on the hop and they were unable to return the serve. The game now turned point for point, until consistent serving from John Beirne, coupled with a hard working forward line, saw Drumshanbo gain a healthy four point lead. Beirne was a constant threat throughout the match. Drumshanbo maintained that lead until Stephen Meehan’s serving, again combined with a strong front three, allowed Drumshanbo’s lead to stretch from 17-13 to 21-13. At this point it became Drumshanbo’s set to lose but, with Shane Meehan in great covering form, there was no danger.
The second set promised more tension and it delivered with point for point play and dramatic rallies. Drumshanbo made an early substitution with Michael McCormack. His steady hands helped Drumshanbo extend their lead, from 6-5 to 14-10. But Kiltimagh fought back and worked their way to 15-15.
From there, Kiltamagh took control and not even the late substitution of Conor Glynn could change Drumshanbo’s fortunes. Kiltimagh went on to win the set, but not without intense pressure from Drumshanbo.
Tension was high in the third and final set and Drumshanbo, having won both the toss and service, got the game underway. It was Schusterovi again in service position and he began the game with a 7 point serving streak which included two aces. Drumshanbo led 7-0, 9-2, 14-5 and 20-13, with Glynn holding his corner well. However, at 23-16, with Drumshanbo in sight of victory, a talented and determined Kiltimagh side took the score to 23-21. A sneaky spike from Declan Beirne (who also had a steady game) saw Drumshanbo retake service for the first time in 7 points. However, unable to deal with a well-aimed volley, they lost service to Kiltimagh who brought the game to 25-24. However at match point an invaluable block from Stephen Carty got both teams level again at 25-25. Carty. The captain had a great match and several times saved points against the Kiltimagh onslaught.
Unfortunately the momentum stayed with the Mayo school. Kiltimagh had knocked out Elphin A in previous round – a very big achievement so it was a great achievement for Drumshanbo Bs to get so close.
Serves: McCormack 4, Stephen Meehan 7, Glynn 1, Schusterovi 13, J. Beirne 13, Carty 6, Shane Meehan7, D. Beirne 11