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23/09/2019 09:34
Three Irish teams among Top 8 at SCA Beach Volleyball Finals
News from the National Federations

Dublin, Ireland, September 23, 2019. Three Irish women’s teams finished in the Top 8 of the Small Countries Association (SCA) Beach Volleyball Finals in Perth, Scotland over the weekend. The results signify positive progress as Volleyball Ireland looks to increase participation and improve performance on the international stage.

The top ranked pairing of Miriam Gormally and Alexandra Graves came agonisingly close to a podium finish losing the 3rd place playoff match to the tournament and home favourites Lynne Beattie and Melissa Coutts. The first set was evenly poised at 16 apiece before three errors on the bounce allowed the Scottish pair to take control. The second set was much of the same with several Irish attacks falling the wrong side of the tape. Cheered on by the vociferous home crowd the top seeds ran out winners 21-17, 21-13.

The Yiasoumi sisters – Katerina and Anastasia – of Cyprus had earlier defeated Ireland in the semi-finals (21-12, 21-14) to setup a winner takes all against Iceland.

Commenting on the tournament Graves said, “It was really great to get back on the sand representing Ireland after the Continental Cup in June. All four teams battled really well and to get three in the top 8 is a good sign.”

Earlier on, Gormally and Graves beat fellow Girls in Green Marie-Claire Sabogal and Fiona Lamont 21-14, 21-17. The match showed the competitive, yet friendly spirit of the Irish squad – although it did cause an agonising conflict of interest for head coach Luciana Hollanda, who took charge of all four competing teams.

Both teams cruised in to the quarters with Gormally and Graves topping Pool B, before Sabogal and Lamont despatched third seeds Emma Patterson and Lucy Kavanagh-Dick from Northern Ireland in one of the standout performances of the tournament in the Round of 12 (21-17, 21-17).

Representing Ireland and taking home a credible joint 5th were Roisin Taieb Roantree and Volleyball Ireland Board Member Regina Halpin. Playing as a pair for the first time, the diminutive duo impressed with wins over Northern Ireland’s Rachel Montgomery and Sarah Scott (21-9, 21-12) in the Pools before beating teammates Emily Frazell and Orla Lynch (21-7, 21-11) in the Round of 12. Their tournament ended with defeat to eventual winners Elisabet Einarsdottir and Berglind Jonsdottir of Iceland (21-2, 21-5).

The competition was a debut on the sand for Emily Frazell, who joined the Irish setup in May as part of the SCA Indoor team that visited Luxembourg. Lynch was also donning the Green Vest for the first time, and the debutants return home with their first international scalp after a victory over Ellen Ranklin/Eva Blair of Scotland (21-11, 21-13).

The Beach Volleyball season now wraps up with the attentions off the court as the Volleyball Association looks to gain Sports Capital Grant funding to develop the first inland court in Ireland, whilst supporting the implementation of permanent posts on beaches across the country.

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