The Convent of Mercy’s bid for All-Ireland senior schools’ volleyball glory ended in disappointment on Wednesday last, but not before they had produced a terrific performance against Rockford Manor.
National champions at C level for the last two years, the Roscommon town school met Rockford Manor, Sutton Park and Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown. Rockford Manor prevailed by two sets, but the Convent recovered to see off Sutton Park and Strokestown by 2-1 and 2-0 respectively.
The second round in the UL Sports Arena saw the Convent pitted against Coláiste Mhuire, Ennis, and St. Brigid’s, Killarney. A great display of skill by the Convent girls saw them breeze through to the next round, winning both games 2-0.
It was a case of déjà vu in the third round as 2-0 victories against Mountrath and Holy Family, Newbridge, ensured Convent progression to the last four.
The All-Ireland semi-final took place at the National Sports Campus, Dublin, on Wednesday, December 5th. Once again, third seeds, Sutton Park, provided the opposition. The Convent prevailed 25-14 in the opening set but fantastic serving by the Dublin school in the second set procured a 25-18 victory to tie up the patch.
But the Convent dusted themselves down to edge the third set, 25-18, to secure their place in the All-Ireland final.
Last Wednesday’s final was the third decider for the vast majority of players on the team. The teams were level at 14 apiece in the opening set against Rockford Manor. It was a very tight affair — an excellent example of how well volleyball is progressing in Ireland at Senior B level.
Anna Finan produced fantastic blocks alongside some great serving by the Convent girls. However, Rockford Manor had the edge, parading many European players that had many extra years of experience under their belts.
The Roscommon girls kept chipping away at the opposition but the first set ended 25-16 in favour of Rockford Manor. The second set was close for quite some time. The Convent girls were tactically aware in letting numerous long serve from the opposition go out. They also executed some excellent blocks and tips, and at one point, with just four points between the teams, it looked like the Convent might steal the set.
However, it wasn’t to be and Rockford Manor prevailed 25-18 to take the set and become All-Ireland champions.
Overall, it was a fantastic performance by the Convent of Mercy girls. They did themselves, their school and their families proud, and are already looking forward to next year.
CONVENT OF MERCY: Emily Horan, Amy Mc Neil, Ella Killion, Chloe Egan, Roisin Tully, Anna Finan, Ciara Farrell, Mia Fallon, Sheena Kilroy, Hazel Murray, Helen Corcoran, Amy Hanly.
Coach: Sarah Farragher.