The Drumshanbo VS Volleyball Treble stars - members of the All-Ireland Senior, Cadette & Junior winning teams
Just before the close of the school year, parents, relations, staff, pupils and friends gathered to honour the three teams that broke more volleyball records for the Drumshanbo Vocational School.
Drumshanbo, for the first time in their very successful history, won Senior A, the Cadette A, and the Junior A boys National titles in the one school year. The seniors won their fifth title, and first since 2004/5, ending an eight year run of Loughrea schools.
The Cadettes surprised the favourites and maintaining their status as the top cadette school in boys winning their eighth Cadette A title. The Juniors won the schools’ third Junior A title after an 19 year gap and did so without dropping a set.
Special guest was John Lynch. John, who has his own record of excellence as Shannonside head of sport, was a most suitable guest of honour. John, a past pupil, was launched to national fame when he a won a young journalist of the year award in 1993.
John volunteered to commentate at the senior Volleyball semi-final that year. His classmates were on the very successful team of 90-95 that went unbeaten for 4 years. His commentary on the final was so professional that the video was entered in the RTE competition and he never looked back.
John himself informed the audience that RTE pundit and Galway senior hurling manager in their glorious eighties, Cyril Farrell was also a successful volleyball manager of opposition St. Raphael's at that time and was not able to steer them past Drumshanbo.
Martin Fallon, Principal, praised the players and management in their wonderful success. He thanked the parents for support of the boys with transport and was he overcome with the positivity of the parents on the night.
Aidan Shannon praise the positive behaviour of the team through the campaigns, always helping set up the hall as well and tidy up after. They also were totally cooperative in coming to training, at all the various times.
He remarked on John King, the “grandfather” assistant from whom he learned a lot of ancient? drills! Aidan also organised a poll of the players to select their players of the tournament.
John Lynch interviewed the three winners Raymond Gallagher, Peter Winters and Radaslaw Oberwan. Aidan praised the reliability of Raymond.
He recalled how Peter would always come and ask him if he, Peter was playing and after Aidan pointed out that, as usual, he was captain, Peter would ask him the full line out. Not only did Radoslaw(Radek) star for the Juniors but he played a significant role for the cadettes.
Aidan thanked Marty for his support, financial help and arranging of teachers. He thanked the staff for their support, particularly Seán Scollan who had also trained the players at stages.
Finally, he said he could not believe how much freedom he suddenly had when Shane Hegarty volunteered to manage the Juniors. He praised Shane and said it was very unfortunate that sudden illness prevent him from attending the celebration.
John King quoted John Connolly’s use of the words “continued excellence of Drumshanbo”. He reckoned it came from continually passing down the skills from player to player, year to year and that all past players had contributed to the current success.
He pointed out that Seán Wynne, Deputy Principal, present, was already a star player in the school before he arrived in 1974. Sean had also managed the Drumshanbo Community games All Ireland volleyball champions in 2004, the first Leitrim boys’ team sport win ever in Mosney.
Declan Lynch, who organised the music for the celebration, had been on that team! John remarked also, that cadettes Barry McWeeney, Evan Foley and Cathal McGourty had done excellent video and photos for the Senior final.
Likewise Seniors Cian Beirne, Fergal Moran and Colin Moran had matched them for the cadette final. Fergal and Gareth Gilmartin also trained the Juniors.
John praised the calmness of the senior, the determination of the cadettes as outsiders and how the Juniors, even when short a man in the final, imposed their will on all schools.
He marvelled at the youthful energy of Aidan and Shane who arranged endless training sessions with the teams on mornings and weekends as well as after school. He also learned a lot from their calmness and relationships with each player to get the best from them and said he was honoured to able to help.
Finally, he paid tribute to photographer for the evening, Ciara Nangle. Ciara started it all by taking the 6th years on the Senior team as Juniors four years ago where their potential was first seen.