It is over two years since Jerry Ryan last sent a bus to Presentation Primary School to take a school team to a sporting event. The loss of such days and experiences to the lives of our young people cannot be underestimated. For that reason, it was extra special that our Volleyball team travelled to Kilkenny on Thursday to compete in the Regional Finals of the Volleyball Ireland Primary School’s Tournament.
There was huge interest in Volleyball over the past few weeks as over 30 pupils trained in the hall every lunchtime hoping to make one of two teams to be selected to wear the wine jersey. Unfortunately only 14 pupils could travel on the day but huge credit must go to all the girls who trained and improved so much during this time.
After much deliberation and consideration, the make-up of Presentation Panthers and Presentation Pythons was decided and the two teams headed off for The Watershed in Kilkenny feeling very nervous and unbelievably excited!
In a twist of fate the first game of the day saw our two teams face each other on Court 4. This proved to be a great opportunity to ease into the competition and get a feel for the arena.
Presentation Pythons then played Gowran B, Kilkenny. This proved to be a great spectacle with the game in the balance right up to the final whistle. After 8 enthralling minutes the Pythons won out on a score line of 23-20.
St. Joseph’s Templemore were the next opponents for both our teams. While the Panthers came up short on a scoreline of 14-21, the Pythons were in inspired form to shock Templemore with an 8 point win, 23-15. This result really threw the group wide open and would eventually mean that score difference would unfortunately come into play.
The Pythons finished the group with their third win of the day by overcoming a determined Dunamaggin team by a mere 4 points, in a game where at one point we were 10 points down!
Panthers were now under pressure having lost to Templemore. No further loses could be afforded if they were to be in with any chance of progressing. An emphatic 30-10 win over Gowran NS rebuilt the confidence lost earlier and subsequently a dominant 21-10 win over Dunamaggin meant a rush by all to view the table to see who was going to progress to the semi finals!
With the tightest of margins, the Panthers topped the group ahead of Templemore with the brave Pythons missing out on score difference. In what can only be described as total team spirit, the Pythons rallied around the Panthers, giving them the courage and encouragement to go and win the semi final at a canter, beating Gowran A by double scores, 30-15.
That win guaranteed that the Presentation Panthers would qualify for the National Finals in UL on 21st March. However, a final against St. Joseph’s, Templemore was still to be played. The Panthers were now in full stride however, and eager for revenge over the only team to beat them in the group stages.
Saving the best for last, the six girls wearing wine started superbly and cruised into a 10 point lead, a lead they would hold right through the game. The final whistle was greeted with screams of pure elation as Presentation Panthers celebrated winning a tournament that reminded us of the importance of sport, team spirit and friendship.
We now look forward to the All Ireland Finals in UL in two weeks time. Well done girls!