VOLLEYBALL: Ireland will host the 2024 u20 Women’s European Volleyball Championships

12 Jan 2024
Sarah Stanley

Volleyball Ireland will host the 2024 u20 Women’s European Volleyball Championship Finals.

The August event promises to be one of the most watched Women’s sports events to be held in Ireland this year, with seven of the continent’s best young teams joining hosts Ireland, at the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin.

From August 5th-13th Ireland will host one of two, eight-team Pools, with tournament co-hosts Bulgaria staging Pool B and Semi Finals/Finals stage in Sofia. The top two from Pool A qualify for the Semi-Finals.

The event will be historic, with Ireland becoming the first ever European Volleyball Small Countries Zone member, to host a European Championships Finals. 

European Volleyball President, Alexsandr Boricic commented, 

“Over the last few years, the CEV has encouraged ‘developing’ National Federations to take up the challenge and host a European Championship for one or the other age group, as we wish to expand the popularity of our sport across the whole of Europe. Volleyball Ireland has experienced tremendous growth and development in recent times, and I am confident that the delivery of this championship will lay the foundations for the further growth of the game in the country. Ireland are literally breaking new ground for European and international Volleyball, as the first member of the Small Countries Association to host an event of this magnitude. I am sure that they will be up to the task, as I can sense their enthusiasm and excitement for what lies ahead.”

Ireland captain Laura Connolly, graduate of Rockford Manor school, student at TUD Dublin and current player at DVC Lions is buzzing for the challenge ahead, 

“I’m incredibly excited for Ireland to host such as massive event. It’s a great honour every time we represent our country, but being able to do that at home, in a major European Finals is just huge.  The whole team recognise the challenge ahead, but we feel so lucky and privileged to have this opportunity, against some of the best players in the world. The preparation is cranking up now, and we’re really looking forward to giving it our all.” 

As the fifth most popular sport in the world Volleyball’s participation levels are booming, both domestically and globally. Back in September over 92,000 people watched a NCAA Women’s Volleyball match in Nebraska, USA, breaking the Women’s sports match attendance world record. 

In Ireland, participation levels have tripled in the last four years, with five times more children now playing the sport than in 2019. Volleyball Ireland Chief Executive Gary Stewart added, 

“Hosting this event gives Volleyball Ireland a huge opportunity to further grow the game. Anyone that watches the sport knows it’s exciting, dramatic and action-packed. Bringing the best young players in the world to Dublin will showcase the sport like nothing else. If you haven’t been to a live Volleyball match, nor a female sports event, then this is the perfect opportunity to see elite athletes, future Olympic champions and the next generation of global role models. Get it in your diary now!”

As a global game, Volleyball is typically the second or third most popular sport in most countries, in fact Italy, Spain, Poland and Croatia have already qualified with Ukraine, Germany and France making the 2nd qualifying round. In Ireland, over 74% of adult members are foreign, coming from 88 different countries. This is something Stewart aims to build on, 

“There are 11,500 Polish people living in Fingal alone, with over 120,000 living across Ireland. There’s 12,000 Italians, 12,500 Spanish people, and over 23,000 people have moved here from France and Germany. All of these people have Volleyball in their blood, it’s their culture, so we really see this event as a chance to celebrate the multiculturism of our sport, its global appeal and give those that have settled in Ireland a chance to see their national team and become involved with the sport locally here. And we’ll do this whilst inspiring the next generation of Laura Connolly’s, Jenny King’s, and Jess Dowling’s.”

A comprehensive legacy programme will ensure that the event has lasting impact, with Volleyball Ireland President Clodagh NicCanna keen to emphasise the long term plan for the sport, 

“There’s no doubt that this is the biggest Volleyball event Ireland has ever seen. It’s history. We’ll be grabbing the opportunity with both hands and using it to further grow participation, up-skill our volunteers, strengthen our clubs and inspire more people to join the VLY. Community. Volleyball is huge globally, this is a serious event that will bring International eye balls to Volleyball Ireland, and we hope capture the imagination of sports fans in Ireland. Volleyball has a real buzz about it, and we will be doing out utmost to ensure anyone and everyone is welcome to the Sport Ireland Indoor Arena to feel the buzz of Volleyball!”

The legacy programme will include coach education courses with world class tutors, as well as a club development programme and supports for youth clubs. A Sport Ireland funded teenage girls programme will run alongside the championships.

Ireland’s first test event will take place later this month as the u20 Men’s Small Countries Association Championships are held at the Sport Ireland Campus. Five teams – Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar, Northern Ireland and San Marino will compete for a place in Greece & Serbia. The matches start on January 26th finishing on Sunday 28th.



  • Volleyball is the fifth biggest sport in the world, with a huge appeal across Europe.
  • Over 1 million people are expected to watch Pool A of the u20 Finals online.
  • Volleyball is the most watched team sport at the Summer Olympic Games. 
  • The 1st round qualifying process is underway with Italy, Sweden, Poland and Croatia guaranteed a spot at the finals, after winning their zonal groups.
  • Volleyball Ireland are the Irish Sport’s industry NGB of the Year in 2022.
  • Over the last four years participation in Volleyball has tripled.
  • Globally, Volleyball is experiencing significant growth with a new professional league in the USA launching this year.
  • The world record attendance for a Women’s sports event is 92,003 set during a Nebraska College Volleyball match in September 2023.
  • 74% of Volleyball Ireland adult members were born abroad.
  • In Ireland, 60% of registered players are female. Globally participation is understood to be close to 50/50.
  • Members come from 88 different countries, making Volleyball Ireland one of the most culturally diverse sports in Ireland.
  • The event is a key deliverable in Volleyball Ireland’s Feel the Buzz Strategy
  • Volleyball Ireland’s vision is to be ‘a recognised leader in inclusion, whilst becoming the fastest growing Volleyball federation in Europe’
  • Ireland’s u20 Women’s team are led by Head Coach Graham Bell, a native of Northern Ireland who has worked professionally in Austria and Germany. Squad members originate from Newbridge x3, Ennis x3, Dublin x3, Athenry x1, Galway x1, San Diego x 1, Cork x 2, Naas x1