Men’s Volleyball finish runners-up to Athlone IT

Ian Brennan

DCU Men's Volleyball Team

DCU Men’s Volleyball lost out in the final of the League Championships to Athlone IT after an impressive showing.

DCU reached the final after producing an astounding comeback against favourites UCD in the semi-final after knocking out Royal College of Surgeons in the quarter finals.

The men’s team had been knocked out at the quarter final stage for the last two years so for coach Benny O’Regan, even making it to the final was a massive achievement.

“Overall it’s better than what was initially expected especially from intervarsity’s in November, where they more or less came bottom two,” he told The College View.

“We topped the group anyway, but it was a very weak group with Tallaght (IT) and Dundalk (IT), there was another team that pulled out.”

Topping the group gave confidence to the team, according to O’Regan as they prepared for the match against RCSI.

“We had a home match initially with Surgeons. When we arrived they were definitely feeling a bit more of a buzz because they’d won a couple of games against Tallaght and Dundalk that kind of gave them a bit more confidence in terms of winning.”

DCU went into the semis as underdogs, with O’Regan himself admitting they were by far the fourth best team left as they headed into what was an interesting clash personally for the coach.

“They’re semi-final was against UCD, who were the favourites. I coach both. I couldn’t coach either so I gave them their line-ups and may the best team win.

“They (DCU) got hammered in the first set, 25-9. Then somewhere in the second set they started getting a bit more competitive and a bit more into the game and managed to get over the line somehow 25-22.

“The momentum was with them as they went into the third set and they had an early three point lead. Eventually we got over the line, bit by bit, 15-12. That was probably the best feeling for all these male students who have been with me over the last two and half years.”

When it came to the final, Athlone were just too strong, and O’Regan admits that DCU played their final, effectively, in that semi with UCD.

For the women’s team, it was a question of bad luck that saw them get knocked out in the quarter finals against NUI Galway.

“They played their best performance in their heaviest defeat. Think of it like Ireland in football against the World Champions, there’s a huge divide in standards.

“When you have someone playing at the top of their capacity and doing everything they can to win a point against a very, very experienced team, which was Galway who ended up winning the League, I’m doing stats for all these girls and they’re not making any mistakes.

“They’re fighting for every ball, they’re standing up to Galway saying, ‘if you want to win, you’ll have to win it on your own terms,’ and that’s what Galway had to do.”

Looking ahead the next event for DCU Volleyball are the Beach Volleyball Championships next month, with O’Regan looking to have four men’s teams and one women’s team competing in Bettystown.

DCU Men are defending champions and for O’Regan, he believes that they can repeat the same feat again this year.

Ian Brennan

Image Credit: DCU Volleyball.