Thursday 23 October 2014

Having a ball on the beach

Donal Nolan

Published 30/08/2014 | 00:00

Miriam Gormally from Kilgarven taking part in the International Beach Volley Ball in Ballybunion. Photo by Eye Focus LTD. Tralee, Co Kerry Ireland.
Conor, Nevan and Sorcha Phelan.
Sheila O’Carroll and Aoife Walsh from Ballybunion enjoying the event.

IT is generally-regarded as one of the best spectator sports in the Olympics, for very good reasons, and Ballybunion learned first hand at the weekend as the Ladies' Beach was transformed into a beach volleyball arena in an international event.

The reasons as to why this particular sport is so easy on the eye might differ between male and female perspectives but the sexes were at least united on one thing: it sure made for great craic and colour.

And the players were delighted with the stunning Atlantic venue for their two days of single and mixed-double play, too - not least the homegrown volleyball talent that is Miriam Gormley.

"We were delighted with the weekend, one of our biggest events in the year," Beach Volleyball Ireland's Graham Torrance told The Kerryman.

"It's a fantastic venue. We've played a number of times before, but this was our first time coming down for a two-day event.

"Ballybunion really ticks the boxes for us as it has plenty of accommodation, the beach is right in the town and it is, of course, a fabulous place."

Graham - who has what sounds like the rather plum job of Beach Development Officer with the BVI - said that locals really made it too.

"We had great crowds in fairness and a lot even got the chance to try beach volleyball for themselves as we left the nets up at the end of the competitions each day."

It came as a proud moment for Kilgarvan native and volleyball ace Miriam Gormley as she got to show her friends in the sport the stunning setting of her native county.

"Miriam's a great talent and she actually finished third in the mixed event. Miriam also represented Ireland in June at the Continental Cup in Bournemouth which is a qualifying stage of the Olympics," said Graham.

One local female said the best thing about the event for the good folk of Ballybunion was the fact that all spectators were catered for: "As there were both men and women playing there was something for everyone watching from the beach, male and female!"


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