Ennis native Cathal Dwyer is the U20 Mens National Volleyball Team captain and earlier this year, he made his debut with professional side Narbonne Volley in France.
As part of our Showcase Your Sport volleyball week, here is a Q&A with Dwyer, courtesy of Volleyball Ireland.
So Cathal, you’ve recently been in the South of France experiencing a professional volleyball environment. How did you find the experience? What are the main differences between playing in Narbonne versus here in Ireland?
The experience was really eye-opening, the main difference being the speed of the game. It’s so much faster in France and a lot of time was spent working on technique and perfecting things like footwork. I also worked a lot with the Setter (a key role in Volleyball) to ensure we had a good synergy.
And what’s it like experiencing sport in a foreign language? Do you find it easy to understand the coaches and teammates, and of course you schooled in France too?
It’s certainly one of the hardest challenges I’ve had to face. I went to school with 3,000 other students and I’m not fluent in French so it was tough. But the longer I was there, the easier it got.
What do you enjoy about Volleyball?
I’ve played Volleyball from a young age as my Mam (Davnet) used to coach my older sisters team, so I was always involved in some way. For a few years, I got to train with my sister’s team when she was on the Senior Team in school. That was fun. At that stage, I really enjoyed learning about a new sport.
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Then my Mam and one of my friend’s parents set up Volleyball in our school, so it became a social outlet and another sport to play, as most of my friends played as well.
The Men’s National squad seems to have a great bond– what is the camaraderie like in the squads? You guys got to compete in Scotland this year, finishing third. Was that the highlight of the International season for you?
There’s a great positive vibe in the squad. The core of the team have been there from the beginning so we get on well. We played really well as a team in Scotland, and have been for a while. I felt we could have won the tournament. Hopefully, we will get another shot at it in the future.
I love representing my country and feel quite patriotic about playing for Ireland. It’s a great feeling.
What are your ambitions in the future playing Volleyball?
This year has been a bit mad in terms of my volleyball growth. Going to France has certainly improved my game. I’m unsure what the future holds with Narbonne and Covid-19 has definitely complicated matters.
What advice would you give to younger players who are making their way in Volleyball?
Watch as many top players and matches as you can and replicate the best players’ techniques. Try and vary your skills and build a wide range of techniques, which means you can apply them and positively impact your team in all situations.