Volleyball Ireland yesterday (July 29) introduced its first National Beach Tour, specifically designed for junior players. The innovative programme will see players aged 14 to 18 battle it out in events located on the West (Fanore, Co Clare) and East (Bettystown, Co Meath) of Ireland. The 3vs3 format will see Tour ranking points allocated for standout performances.
Ahead of the competition, training days will be held in the same venues to aid the transition from indoor court to the sand, providing players with specific beach skills and tactics. The tour is the second stage in the formation of age group National Teams in Beach Volleyball, with Ireland expected to compete internationally in 2021.
Conor Flood, Development Officer for Volleyball Ireland said, “The project builds upon our first ever Beach Volleyball Performance Camp last year, in which 24 players took part in a three-day residential camp. This next step will help us form regional training squads who will then filter into Team Ireland next season. It is a really exciting time to be involved in Volleyball with lots of great opportunities for young players.”
This new development carries on the work created by the CEV Beach Volleyball Development grant – which helped Ireland develop a National Tour and promote Beach Volleyball around the country.
A number of experienced Beach Volleyball coaches, all of which have played internationally, will deliver expert coaching, with Luciana Hollanda (Brazil), Viera Hauriskova (Slovakia), Lee Annand (South Africa) and Mikal O’Boyle (USA) overseeing the training element on the programme, which is open to anyone interested in playing Beach Volleyball.
The project is funded through the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s (OFI) Discretionary Fund.
General Manager of Volleyball Ireland, Gary Stewart added, “We are incredibly grateful to the OFI for this specific funding, as well as our core funder Sport Ireland and international partner CEV. They are helping us deliver local programmes with national benefits that will create a proper system for developing the next generation of Beach Volleyball players. The intention is that this programme will lead to international competition participation at youth level, but will also strengthen our own national tour in years to come.”
Bettystown was the venue for the 2019 CEV Continental Cup – a Beach Volleyball Olympic qualifier featuring eight teams from across Europe. The FIVB World Tour was due to stop off in Meath earlier this month, but COVID-19 restrictions resulted in the cancellation of the event.