November 2005 was the last time Drumshanbo VS beat St. Brigid's Loughrea. But last Thursday in Loughrea, they beat the home team in straight sets.
In their opening match, blending the Drumshanbo cadette champions with last years seniors proved difficult but Drumshanbo will still be pleased of the close finish against St Raphael's.
Raphael’s are the holders and, virtually unchanged from last year, are favourites to win the competition.
St. Raphael's Loughrea beat Drumshanbo VS 25-18 26-24
The first set had three parts. Raphael's led 10-5 but, helped by great variety of distribution from Fergal Gilmartin, Drumshanbo rallied to lead 14-13. Raphael's raced back to lead 22-16 and, despite the introduction of Fergal Guihen, took the opening set. At times Drumshanbo were not sure of their positions.
In the second set Raphael’s again raced 5-2 ahead. Then, as in all good Drumshanbo runs of the day, Tomás McManus had a purple patch, this time on serve. Drumshanbo led 9-7 and, helped by fine setting from Cian Beirne, 15-13.
Raphael's went back on top 21-18 but, after a time out from manager Aidan Shannon, Drumshanbo went all the way to set point at 24-21.
Kian Gibbons (100% serve on the day), fed sets to Caleb Duffy who hit winners time and time again. However, Raphael’s prevailed.
Drumshanbo VS beat St. Brigid's Loughrea 26-24 25-21
It looked like old times again as Brigid’s led 3-0 but Drumshanbo caught up and the set was level five times to 10-10. Then, at 15-14, Kevin Moran's addition saw Drumshanbo race ahead 22-16.
Despite a Brigid's comeback, Drumshanbo went one set up. The second set was similarly close – level 10 times to 11-11. With good defence and hitting from Gareth Higgins, Drumshanbo sailed ahead 20-16. Brigid's fought back to 19-21 but Duffy and Jacek Ozdobinski dominated the net with good hitting and Drumshanbo downed Brigid's.
Drumshanbo seniors had beaten Brigid’s every year from 2001-2005. Little did they think the wait would be so long again! Finally, it has happened, but Brigid’s may not be finished!
Team: (serves in brackets): Jacek Ozdobinski (7), Kian Gibbons (18), Caleb Duffy (15), Gareth Higgins (8), Fergal Gilmartin (6), Kevin Moran (5), Tomás McManus (17), Cian Beirne (2), Fergal Guihen, Raymond Gallagher, Lucas Da Silva, Callum Moore.
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