The Ireland Men’s Sevens squad made their debut on the GB7s Tour on Saturday, finishing a very respectable fourth in the opening tournament in Edinburgh.
The first stage of the eight-team GB7s Tour took place at Meggetland where the young Ireland squad, competing as the Wolfhounds, took on some of the foremost elite Sevens teams in the four nations.
They got off to a thrilling start, erasing a 19-10 half-time deficit to beat Welsh Charitables 31-24 in their opening Pool B game, with Adam Byrne, Aaron Cairns, Tom Daly, David McGuigan and Harry McNulty all touching down.
The Wolfhounds made it two wins out of two with a 24-10 victory over the Forces Exiles, as UCD duo Byrne and McNulty crossed again and Diarmaid McCarthy (pictured below) and Luke O’Dea opened their accounts.
Defending champions Samurai proved too strong in the pool decider, however, as the Irish outfit fell to a 36-12 defeat. Alex Wootton, Garryowen’s Senior Player of the Year, notched a brace of tries.
Next up was the cup semi-final against the Wailers, who are linked with Newcastle Falcons. The Wolfhounds were only 14-12 behind at the break and went on to match the Wailers’ three-try tally with efforts from McCarthy and Lansdowne pair Tom Daly and Mark Roche, but their Newcastle opponents converted all of their scores to take a tight 21-17 win.
That left the Irish youngsters with one final game – a rematch with Samurai in the 3rd/4th place play-off. Although Byrne grabbed his third try of the tournament and McGuigan and O’Dea also dotted down, the Wolfhounds were pipped in another close finish as Samurai took the spoils on a 26-21 scoreline.
Anthony Eddy, Ireland’s head coach and Director of Rugby Sevens, said: “The GB7s is a quality tournament and to finish fourth is a good result as this is our first experience in a Sevens tournament and the team improved from game to game.
“It is good preparation for the Rugby Europe tournament in Bosnia and we also have the opportunity to continue to develop the squad through the other GB7s tournaments.”
Next weekend will be a very busy one for Ireland’s extended Sevens panel with the Rugby Europe Men’s Division C competition taking place in Zenica, while Coventry’s Broadstreet RFC will host the second stage of the GB7s Tour.
Ireland have been drawn with Turkey, who are ranked second of the 12 competing teams, Belarus and Montenegro in Pool B of the European Division C event next Saturday.
IRELAND WOLFHOUNDS SEVENS Squad (GB7s Tour – Stage 1, Meggetland, Edinburgh, Saturday, May 30):
Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Aaron Cairns (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Tom Daly (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Shane Layden (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Gearoid Lyons (Young Munster/Munster)
Diarmaid McCarthy (Young Munster/Munster)
David McGuigan (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Harry McNulty (UCD/Leinster)
Luke O’Dea (Shannon/Munster)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Ciaran Wardle (Exiles)
Alex Wootton (Garryowen/Munster)
Ireland Men’s Sevens Management
Anthony Eddy – Head Coach
Stan McDowell – Assistant Coach
Sinead Bennett – Team Manager
Marian Earls – Strength & Conditioning
James Allen – Physio
2015 GB7s TOUR STAGE 1 – Ireland Results:
Pool B –
Ireland Wolfhounds 31 Welsh Charitables 24
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Adam Byrne, Aaron Cairns, Tom Daly, David McGuigan, Harry McNulty; Cons: Tom Daly, Gearoid Lyons 2
Team: Shane Layden, David McGuigan, Tom Daly, Harry McNulty, Adam Byrne, Aaron Cairns, Luke O’Dea.
Subs used: Gearoid Lyons, Alex Wootton, Mark Roche, Ciaran Wardle.
Ireland Wolfhounds 24 Forces Exiles 10
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Adam Byrne, Diarmaid McCarthy, Harry McNulty, Luke O’Dea; Cons: Gearoid Lyons 2
Team: Gearoid Lyons, Tom Daly, Alex Wootton, Mark Roche, Harry McNulty, Diarmaid McCarthy, Ciaran Wardle.
Subs used: Shane Layden, David McGuigan, Adam Byrne, Aaron Cairns, Luke O’Dea.
Samurai 36 Ireland Wolfhounds 12
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Alex Wootton 2; Con: Tom Daly
Team: David McGuigan, Tom Daly, Mark Roche, Harry McNulty, Adam Byrne, Aaron Cairns, Luke O’Dea.
Subs used: Gearoid Lyons, Shane Layden, Alex Wootton, Ciaran Wardle.
Cup Semi-Final: Wailers 21 Ireland Wolfhounds 17
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Tom Daly, Diarmaid McCarthy, Mark Roche; Con: Gearoid Lyons
Team: Gearoid Lyons, Shane Layden, David McGuigan, Tom Daly, Alex Wootton, Mark Roche, Diarmaid McCarthy.
Subs used: Harry McNulty, Adam Byrne, Aaron Cairns, Luke O’Dea, Ciaran Wardle.
3rd/4th Place Play-Off: Samurai 26 Ireland Wolfhounds 21
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Adam Byrne, David McGuigan, Luke O’Dea; Cons: Tom Daly 2, Gearoid Lyons
Team: David McGuigan, Tom Daly, Alex Wootton, Harry McNulty, Adam Byrne, Aaron Cairns, Luke O’Dea.
Subs used: Gearoid Lyons, Shane Layden, Mark Roche, Diarmaid McCarthy, Ciaran Wardle.