Killowen triumph at Northern Ireland’s largest school volleyball event


Article Mon, Jun 10 2024

A long-anticipated tournament took place at Dalriada School in Ballymoney, hosting Northern Ireland’s largest primary school volleyball event under the umbrella of the CEV School Project ‘Play Volleyball – Grow with it’. This initiative aims to introduce and nurture volleyball skills in young students, encouraging them to have a solid foundation in movement and coordination before progressing to secondary school.

The event saw participation from 22 teams representing 10 different schools, thus creating an atmosphere filled with excitement, energy, and a shared passion for Volleyball. The tournament was structured to maximise playtime, thereby allowing the children to participate in numerous matches throughout the day.

The climax of the event was the Cup Tournament, where Killowen 1 emerged victorious, with their second team, Killowen 2, finishing as runners-up! What an achievement for one school! Killowen’s success story began earlier in the month when they visited Castleroe School, last year’s tournament winners, for a training session that ignited their enthusiasm for the sport. Their dedication and hard work paid off as they claimed the Dalriada Cup in only the second year of its history. The team is now looking forward to further developing their skills, with plans to bring in a volleyball coach next year.

In addition to the Cup, the Plate Tournament offered thrilling matches, with a particularly exciting final between Kilmoyle 2 and Garryduff. The match was closely contested, with squeals of delight and jumping up and down after most points, culminating in a tight scoreline that kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Garryduff emerged as the Plate Champions, winning 25-22.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the tournament was seeing the children thoroughly enjoying themselves and gaining a positive experience of exercise, and of Volleyball in particular. Many of these students had never played Volleyball before the School Project began, and it was inspiring to watch them develop their movement and skills, providing a strong foundation for future growth in the sport as well as transferrable skills for other sports. The primary pupils also benefited from the role models of 11 Dalriada students, who served as officials and referees. These Year 10 pupils, who are the current U14 Northern Ireland League and Cup Champions, ensured the smooth running of the event and set an excellent example for the younger players.

Dr Ian Walker, Vice Principal and Head Coach at Dalriada, expressed his delight at the success of the event:

“The enthusiasm and talent displayed by these young players is a testament to the effectiveness of the CEV School Project. It is incredibly rewarding to see children having so much fun while learning the sport, and we are excited about the future of Volleyball in our school and the wider area.”

Congratulations and big thanks to the tournament organisers Ian, Rachel, Clare, and Zania, the participating schools, and all the volunteers who helped make this event a resounding success!  Congratulations to Killowen for their outstanding performance, to all the teams for their enthusiasm and sportsmanship, and to tournament MVPs Beth, Amellia, and Mohamad. Northern Ireland Volleyball look forward to seeing even more schools and students participate in next year’s tournament as they continue to grow and develop the sport across the country.