The Ireland Women put in their most complete performance of the weekend to record a comprehensive 31-0 win over Italy in the 7th-8th place play-off at the FIRA/AER European Women's Sevens Grand Prix tournament in Moscow.
Two young players who have a lot of potential in the game, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Hannah Tyrrell, were in fine try-scoring form as Ireland signed off in the Russian capital with a runaway win.
Murphy Crowe used her pace on the outside to score a brace of tries and snappy scrum half Nicole Cronin added a third for a 17-0 half-time advantage over Italy.
Tyrrell, the Dublin Ladies Gaelic football goalkeeper, matched Murphy Crowe's tally with a couple of well-taken tries in the second half to ensure a winning finish for the girls in green, who are back in action next weekend in the second round of the Grand Prix Series in Brive.
Day two of the 12-team event in Moscow had started in disappointing fashion for Jon Skurr's side as they fell 29-0 to a strong England outfit - the eventual champions - in the Cup quarter-finals.
That put them into the Plate competition where they met close rivals Spain, whom they defeated at the Amsterdam leg of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series recently.
Ireland had the first opportunity to attack as Siobhan Barrett and Claire Keohane carried forward, but Spain hit the front in the fourth minute through Africa Felez Barragan despite some determined tackling from Tyrrell and Nikki Caughey.
Patricia Garcia converted and as Ireland struggled for territory, the Spanish almost scored from a late counter before the half-time hooter. It took tenacious defending from Cronin and Barrett to force a handling error.
Ireland continued to work hard in defence with Tyrrell producing an important tackle just a couple of metres out. However, from the ensuing ruck, Garcia ghosted through on the blindside to dot down in the left corner.
Skurr's charges finally got on the front foot thanks to a lovely switch between Laura Lee Walsh and Barrett which sent the tall Tralee player striding into the Spanish half.
The breakthrough came in the final minute when the nippy Murphy Crowe sprinted over from the right to close the gap. Keohane added the extras for a 12-7 scoreline, but time ran out on Ireland's comeback bid.
Next up were the Italians in a battle for seventh place overall, and it was evident right from the off that Ireland had the beating of them.
Just 55 seconds in, Murphy Crowe ran in a tremendous solo try from her right wing station as she evaded three defenders on the way to the line. Keohane converted for an early 7-0 advantage.
Ireland showed good width as Murphy Crowe threatened again on the right before Walsh unfortunately knocked on with space to exploit on the opposite wing.
Nonetheless, Clanwilliam's Murphy Crowe soon added to Ireland's lead in the fifth minute, burning off a defender on the outside for her fourth try of the tournament.
Ireland were dominating possession at this point with the leaping Walsh doing well to win restarts or disrupt the Italians and force mistakes.
Shannon Houston, a dynamic presence as captain, was just help up after Cronin injected some pace by quickly tapping two penalties in succession.
The third try arrived just before the interval as Tyrrell ran strongly in midfield and the ball was moved to the left at pace for Barrett to send Cronin over in the corner.
Tyrrell and Murphy Crowe were full of running and launched Ireland forward on the restart. Two minutes in, Cronin found a gap with some good footwork and closer in Tyrrell used her strength to stretch over just to the left of the posts. Keohane's conversion made it 24-0.
Ireland then built from deep for their fifth and final try as Barrett recovered an Italian kick in the 22. Good distribution led to Tyrrell slicing through on the left and she stepped inside the final defender to run in a cracking score which Caughey converted.
Tyrrell showed her worth in defence too, putting in an excellent tackle to halt a dangerous Italian break late on. The five tries-to-one outcome will have pleased coach Skurr who will be hoping for further improvements in France next time out.
Meanwhile, a mention must go to retired number 8 Joy Neville, a key member of last year's Ireland Women's Grand Slam-winning team.
She continued her development as a referee at the Moscow tournament and did a fine job when taking charge of the Cup semi-final between Russia and Portugal and the 3rd/4th place play-off between the Netherlands and Portugal.
IRELAND WOMEN'S SEVENS Squad (FIRA/AER European Women's Sevens Grand Prix Tournament, Luzhniki Olympic Complex, Moscow, Russia, June 7-8):
1. Shannon Houston (Blackrock/Leinster) (capt) 2. Martina McCarthy (St. Mary's/Talent ID Programme) 3. Elaine Ryan (Talent ID Programme) 4. Nicole Cronin (Shannon/Munster) 5. Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster) 6. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 7. Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Clanwilliam/Munster) 8. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster) 9. Nikki Caughey (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 10. Siobhan Barrett (Tralee/Munster) 11. Laura Lee Walsh (Talent ID Programme) 12. Susan Vaughan (Railway Union/Leinster)
POOL B - Saturday, June 7
IRELAND 7 Portugal 10 IRELAND 22 Belgium 15 England 34 IRELAND 5
The IRFU have announced the fixtures for the forthcoming Ulster Bank League season and following on from the success of last year's 'Friday Night Lights' games, the evening kick-offs continue and Division 1A sees the return of semi-finals and a final for the 2014/15 campaign.
More than 400 boys and girls from 20 teams took part in the Aviva Mini Rugby Festival and enjoyed a chance to 'play where their heroes play'. We hear from the IRFU's Hendrik Kruger and former Ireland international David Wallace, as well as Aviva's Eoin O'Neill and some of the club coaches involved.
Old Belvedere moved to the top of Ulster Bank League Division 1A as full-back Josh Glynn booted them to a 21-15 victory over Dolphin. Their home win came a day after title rivals Clontarf lost to Lansdowne, setting up a fascinating final round next Saturday.
The top two teams in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League - Clontarf and Old Belvedere - played out a high quality 'Friday Night Lights' encounter in front of a large Castle Avenue crowd. Irish Rugby TV brings you the best of the action.
Tries from man-of-the-match Daniel Riordan, captain Gerry Hurley and replacement Declan Lavery inspired the Ireland Club team to a 28-3 victory over their Scottish counterparts in the Ulster Bank Club International match. Check out this recap of the annual Dalriada Cup clash.
Number 8 Sean Wall captained Enniscorthy to Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup glory on Saturday as they got the better of Clogher Valley on a 10-9 scoreline. He was interviewed by Knockon.ie's Rob Murphy afterwards.
Scrum half Evan Lett scored the only try of the game as Enniscorthy won the Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup title for the first time, beating Clogher Valley 10-9 in a tight decider. He spoke to Knockon.ie's Rob Murphy afterwards.
Clogher Valley's joint head coach David Black reflected on his side's 10-9 Ulster Bank All-Ireland Junior Cup final loss to Enniscorthy. Despite the disappointment, he said it was 'a big achievement for such a small club' to reach the decider.
Out-half David Joyce wrapped up Clontarf's latest win in the Ulster Bank League, scoring the closing try and 16 points in total as they beat Young Munster 26-9 at Tom Clifford Park. Check out highlights of Saturday's game on Irish Rugby TV.
UCD qualified for the Ulster Bank Bateman All-Ireland Cup final with a hard-earned 21-20 semi-final win over Galwegians. The Irish Rugby TV cameras were at Belfield on Saturday to catch the best of the action.
Defending champions Lansdowne entered the Christmas break as the third-placed team in Ulster Bank League Division 1A following a nine-try 61-11 thrashing of Dolphin on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch. Check out the highlights on Irish Rugby TV.
The IRFU have launched a new concussion guide which outlines four simple, important messages: Stop - Inform - Rest - Return. Irish Rugby TV spoke to IRFU Head of Medical Services, Dr. Rod McLoughlin, IRUPA Operations Manager Simon Keogh and IRFU international referee John Lacey about the guide - further information is available at http://www.irishrugby.ie/news/30281.php.
Out-half Craig Ronaldson, who has made a successful transition from Ulster Bank League rugby with Lansdowne to a professional contract with Connacht, talks about the step up to this level of rugby, the importance of the league in providing game-time and a shop window for players and he also previews the province's back-to-back clashes with Toulouse.
The Irish Rugby TV cameras recorded today's much-anticipated 'Your Club, Your Country' Grand Prize Draw, with the 2013 winners drawn by IRFU President Pat Fitzgerald. Lionel Mahon from Ulster Bank and independent auditor Aidan Connaughton from Grant Thornton were also present for the draw which was hosted by the IRFU's Barry Cunningham.
Watch highlights of Ballynahinch's clash with Garryowen in Ulster Bank League Division 1A, as tries from Ross Adair and Aaron Ferris guided Hinch to their first win of the campaign at Ballymacarn Park.