It was a yo -yo of a day from Drumshanbo volleyball down in Loughrea last week. A wipe out in one set against A holders Brigid’s was offset by five other great sets which at one stage promised the top ranking to Drumshanbo Junior As. A dreadful start by the Junior Bs contrasted with a great lead in 2nd set against the holders and a Houdini recovery against Elphin saw them also advance to top 6.
Junior A: Five of the last six Junior A champions have been Loughrea schools and Drumshanbo had to play both Raphael’s and Brigid’s in Loughrea as well as a repeat match against local rivals Elphin.
Drumshanbo, just off the bus, first faced a warmed up Raphael’s who raced 8-3 ahead. Gradually though, Drumshanbo narrowed the gap and, after an extraordinary long rally, they went ahead 19-18. After Drumshanbo led 20-18 Raphael’s bounced back and got the last two points of the set.
The second set was even closer, level 10 times with never more than a two point gap. Raphael’s led first but Lucas Da Silva’s introduction brought Drumshanbo the lead at seven. Raphael’s edged more ahead until 15 and then Drumshanbo had the edge until 22-22 but this time they won the close set.
Drumshanbo were continuously pulled for net play. As the game progressed Drumshanbo were sending better and better ball to the setter and put huge pressure on a very good Raphael’s defence.
Against holders Brigid’s Drumshanbo were sometimes ahead until 12 but then fell 12-19 behind. It was a great comeback to take the set. This put them temporarily on top of the table. The second set, though, was their worst of the day although Brigid’s also hit hard.
Drumshanbo recovered well however to win against Elphin and boost their seedings.
Callum O’Hagan Moore was the steady player throughout the games. Jacek Ozdobinski likewise, with great setting and net play. Caleb Duffy gradually upped his game with both care and power. Sunbeam Feng got the first 2 runs of serves. Kevin Moran was strong at the net while Fergal Guihen’s movement to the ball was his best yet. The rest of the panel all played in the Elphin win.
Junior B: Despite leading 5-2 Drumshanbo had a dreadful patch of errors in their opening set against Brigid’s to trail 21-11. Then, on Cathal McKeon’s serve they rallied and fought well to the end . Gareth Higgins gave them a huge lead of 7-0 in the 2nd set but, despite trailing after 10, Drumshanbo gave a good account of themselves right through the match against the favourites. Mark McMahon and Shane McGranahan had a big impact when they came on.
Against Elphin, an Aaron Perrin winner helped Drumshanbo to an early 7-1 lead but Elphin rallied to 10-10.They also came back from 17-17 before Drumshanbo won the first set. Elphin led in the 2nd but a Darren Hennessy block helped Drumshanbo to lead 6-2. Elphin levelled at 8 but good all round play from Gavin Kane, steady net work from Sean Prior and a winner from Kevin Lynch kept Drumshanbo ahead 21-16. Elphin staged another all out rally to lead 23-21 before Drumshanbo just squeezed out.