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Three Wins Out Of Four For Ireland Sevens Side

Three Wins Out Of Four For Ireland Sevens Side

The Ireland Sevens squad, sponsored by Independent News and Media, won three of their four pool matches at FIRA-AER European Sevens Championship today, with their only loss coming against Celtic rivals Wales.

Ireland, who are coached by former Under-21 international Jon Skurr, played the Ukraine in their tournament opener and started brightly with a converted try from team captain Kieran Campbell.

Oleg Kvasnitsa touched down for the eastern Europeans to tie up the game before Ian Keatley bagged a seven-pointer to leave the Irish 14-7 ahead at the break.

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Tries from former Ulster team-mates Seamus Mallon and Andrew Maxwell saw Skurr’s men pull further ahead in the second half and by the full-time whistle, they were 26-7 to the good.

In Ireland’s second pool game, they took on their fellow Celts Wales but finished as 26-14 losers.

Having conceded early tries to James Lewis and Andrew Powell, the men in green struck back to lead by 14-12 at the interval.

Edinburgh winger Maxwell scored an excellent try, with Keatley converting, and the latter landed a superb conversion just before half-time to top off a try from James Coughlan.

But Ireland were held scoreless in the second period as a brace of tries, the second from Alec Jenkins, sealed the Welsh win.

Two second half tries from Ulster centre Darren Cave helped Ireland to a 17-12 victory over Italy in their third pool tie.

The Italians had a player yellow carded in each half but still led by 12-7 at the midpoint of the second period. However, Cave’s efforts were enough to see the Irish home.

In their final pool fixture on Saturday, Ireland grabbed a stylish 31-0 triumph over Belgium. The win has Skurr’s charges in second place in the pool and on the cusp of qualifying for the World Cup.

Tries from Esher clubman Richard Briggs and Andrew Maxwell, who converted all three first half touchdowns, had the Irish 21-0 ahead at half-time.

Unconverted efforts from Briggs and Ulster back rower Chris Henry sealed the result after a one-sided second period.

The event in Hannover will see five teams qualify for the Sevens World Cup. 12 teams are competing at the two-day competition at the AWD-Arena.

Ireland are in Pool B alongside Wales, Italy, Ukraine, Poland and Belgium. Italy beat Belgium 17-10 in their opener, while Wales overcame Poland on a 38-7 score-line.

Wales currently top the pool with four wins out of four – they also beat Poland, the Ukraine and Italy today.

Top seeds Portugal are in Pool A with Spain, Russia, Romania, Georgia and host country Germany.

Ireland’s last pool game is on Sunday morning against Poland (9.50am local time).

The top two sides in each pool will go through to the Cup semi-finals and Ireland will be hoping to be in this section.