Talking Sport with Stephen Glennon
IRELAND volleyball captain Olivia Molloy, who led Galway Volleyball Club to the Premier League and Association Cup double last season, is a player at the peak of her game.
Having just returned from a week-long beach volleyball camp under the tuition of renowned coach Denise Austin, Molloy is gearing up for a return to domestic action with Galway against Naas in their Premier League tie at Calasanctius College, Oranmore this Sunday (2pm).
Although defending champions, the season got off to a difficult start when GVC were forced to forfeit their opening game while a later defeat to Garda means they will have to pull out all the stops in the second half of the season if they are to retain their Premier League crown.
That said, the year just past has been an exceptional one for the Kilnadeema/Leitrim native, who will pick up her first Galway Sports Stars Award in recognition of her achievements at the annual event in Galway Bay Hotel on Saturday, January 27.
For in addition to leading the newly formed Galway Volleyball Club to the league and cup double, she also captained the Republic of Ireland senior women’s team at the Small Nations Qualifiers for the European Championships while also representing the country in the Small Nations Beach Volleyball Championships in Scotland in July.
Indeed, the 26-year-old has come a long way since she first took up the sport in her second year at St. Brigid’s College, Loughrea, having previously tried her hand at camogie with Shamrocks and soccer and basketball with her local national school, Kilcooley. Then again, she confides there was already a little volleyball running through her DNA.
“My mam (Hilary) used to play a bit of volleyball at school. She was in St. Raphael’s in Loughrea. I think, Sr. Bosco was there at the time. She used to teach them volleyball and she did play a little. So, she had a good understanding of it,” begins the Ireland captain.
“I started playing with the cadets in St. Brigid’s in Loughrea in my second year of secondary school. Mary Barrett was the one who got me into it really. She has made the school a volleyball stronghold. There was a good crew of us playing so we would use any spare time we had to play or ref matches in the gym at lunch-time, after school, or any time we could get into the hall really.”
With experienced volleyballer, Tom McTighe – now with An Garda Síochána – taking the PE classes in her later years at the school, Molloy credits him with helping her to add another element to her game.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.