The Portlaoise Under-18 Girls travelled to Buccaneers RFC Athlone for the all-female '7s in the City' tournament in aid of Action Breast Cander. This was the first time for Portlaoise to play Sevens in competition at this age group.
The Portlaoise Under-18 Girls team, named the 'Seven Deadly Sins', reflected the massive growth in popularity of this sport among schoolgirls in Ireland and around the world since it has been designated an Olympic sport. The girls trained with Sevens specialist Mark Roberts in the previous three weeks.
The '7s in the City' format was round-robin with four teams qualifying for the semi-finals. The speed and intensity of the game is such that the time allowed for each half is seven minutes, except in the final where it increases to ten minutes.
The Portlaoise squad consisted of Aoife McNeill, Róisín McWey, Rebecca Mullen, Abigail Mullen, Mairéad Keogh, Tara Buggie, Áine Camphuijsen, Lauren Roberts, Emma Startin, Robyn Mullen and Anna O'Neill.
The 'Seven Deadly Sins' from Portlaoise emerged from the group stages to qualify for the semi-finals with tries from Tara Buggie and Anna O'Neill.
The semi-final saw Portlaoise pitched against Railway Union. From the start Abigail Mullen, Mairéad Keogh, Emma Startin, Robyn Mullen, Tara Buggie and Aoife McNeill stretched Union's defensive line using the width of the pitch.
Róisín McWey, Áine Camphuijsen, Rebecca Mullen, Lauren Roberts, Emma Startin and Anna O'Neill attacked from deep, creating pace onto the ball and made it easier to identify spaces.
Portlaoise constantly tested Union's drift defence, exploiting their player with a step or and inside pass. A typical move from Áine Camphuijsen, playing scrum half, picked, dummied and stepped her opponent to run in a superb try.
Portlaoise were always a threat with the ball and emerged deserving winners with further tries from Rebecca Mullen and Lauren Roberts. Railway Union had no reply and Portlaoise progressed to the final on a scoreline of 15-0.
The final against Carrick-on-Suir proved a bridge too far with Carrick sporting three girls from the international squad.
Róisín McWey scored a marvellous try in the decider. The outcome of two tries to one augurs well for the Portlaoise side who have just commenced training in this new code. Portlaoise also have a number of players in reserve who were unavailable for this debut tournament in the midlands.
Portlaoise are currently recruiting players and athletes who would like to play this exciting brand of rugby and emulate their previous or current international schoolgirl squad players - Anna O'Neill, Aoife Murphy and Eimear Corri.
The Portlaoise girls' next Sevens matches will be in Greystones on Saturday, July 12.
You've finished training but what should you eat to help your body to recover? Getting the balance right is all important so check out #Eat2Compete and download the factsheets on www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete.
Eating the right food is only one part of nutrition for young players. Hydration is a key element. How much? How often? Check out our #Eat2Compete guide to hydration and download the factsheets from www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete.
Simple tips for young players to keep healthy throughout the season - 'Eat Well, Stay Well, Play Well' - it will benefit you on and off the field. For more check out #Eat2Compete or www.irishrugby.ie/eat2compete
Speaking after the 3rd/4th place play-off defeat to France, Ireland Women's head coach Philip Doyle said: "Semi-final of a World Cup, ranked fourth - I'm absolutely thrilled with that. It's one step, we've learned a huge amount at this World Cup. We'll put it in the bank now and hopefully, in three years' time at the next World Cup, another Irish team will be there (competing in the last-four)."
The Ireland squad got their first taste of the new Canterbury training kit with new sponsor Three on board. Check out the gear as Cian Healy, Tommy Bowe and Devin Toner give us their thoughts and register for updates on shop.irishrugby.ie.
Speaking ahead of the Women's World Cup semi-final against England, Ireland head coach Philip Doyle said: "We're really looking forward to it, it's going to be a great occasion. I'm sure it will be like any another massive game in that it's all down to percentages."
Relive all the drama and excitement of the Ireland Women's historic victory over New Zealand with Wyn Gruffydd's memorable commentary, the roar of the Irish fans in Marcoussis and Fiona Coghlan's inspiring post-match interview.