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Magnificent Mary's hit the double at nationals

THE volleyball girls of St Mary's Naas continued their extraordinary winning streak when they won both cadette and senior titles for the first time at the annual North v South All Ireland finals in Jordanstown.

In both matches, St Mary's were taking on Dalriada from Ballymoney, a school as dominant in Northern Irish volleyball as St Mary's in the Republic.

First up were the cadettes, and in the opening set they faced a tough struggle to contain the strong-serving, smart tips and accurate hitting of their opponents. With big hits from Aisling Clancy, Rachel Collins and Cliodhna Duffy, they fought their way back to a 25-16 victory after trailing by three points early on.

Dalriada started well in the second set, with St Mary's relying on excellent cover from Rica Garcia and quality setting from Eadaoin Duffy to keep in touch. After a dip in form mid-set, the team battled through and regained their lead. An injured Aisling Clancy was replaced by Eimear O'Neill who picked up some great ball.

Niamh Bergin excelled at the net and Cora Moloney worked tirelessly at the back of the court to receive their strong serve. With composure regained, St Mary's won the set 25-16 and with it the match.

Next up was the senior team, determined to maintain their two year winning streak.

They stormed to a 25-7 victory in the opening set, with excellent hitting from Karen Benn, Aoibhinn Cassidy, Sarah Benn and Orla Lynch.

Sylvia Power worked tirelessly at the back of the court to pick up their cross court hits, while Louise Dore had an excellent run of play when she came on for Orla Lynch and captain Heather Clancy led by example in her last ever game for the team before heading to the US on a volleyball scholarship.



Dalriada came back fighting in the second set, but St Mary's experience shone through and with great passes and tips from Anne-Marie Kelly as opposite hitter and at the net they went two sets up at 25-17.

In the third set, St Mary's were really up against it for the first half of the set, but with excellent hitting from Sylvia Power, Karen Benn and Sarah Benn they held their lead.

Briona Hoban came on for Aoibheann Cassidy and did an excellent job to finish out the third set and match at 25-14.

Cadette Team – Aisling Clancy (C), Rica Garcia, Eadaoin Duffy, Cliodhna Duffy, Fiona Jacob, Mary Creaton, Elaine McCullagh, Katie Dore, Niamh Bergin, Rachel Collins, Cora Moloney, Eimear O Neill.

Senior team – Heather Clancy (C), Briona Hoban, Karen Benn, Sylvia Power, Aoibheann Cassidy, Anne-Marie Kelly, Orla Lynch, Rica Garcia, Aisling Clancy, Sarah Benn , Louise Dore.