The Ireland Wolfhounds reached their first ever GB7s Tour final in Colwyn Bay, north Wales, as their upward graph continued with three wins in five games today.
The Ireland Wolfhounds fell just short of winning the Welsh leg of the tour, going down 29-24 to overall series champions Samurai in a dramatic and tightly-contested final that went to extra-time.
A try after the hooter from Lansdowne’s Mark Roche made it 24-all, but Samurai, who had a number of Sevens specialists in their ranks, grabbed the ‘golden score’ when New Zealand Sevens international Rocky Khan was first to touch down in extra-time.
Khan was effectively the difference between the sides, bagging a hat-trick in the Parc Eirias decider. Ian Fitzpatrick, David McGuigan and Harry McNulty all touched down for the Wolfhounds before Roche’s leveller.
The Irish side, marshalled by coach Stan McDowell, had started the day in impressive fashion with a 43-0 hammering of Welsh Charitables. Adam Byrne continued where he left off in European Division C last weekend with a brace of tries, while there were also doubles for McGuigan and Diarmaid McCarthy.
A late try saw the Wolfhounds make it two wins out of two in Pool B when they accounted for Scotland’s Co-Optimist outfit. Foster Horan, Alan Bennie, Aaron Cairns and Terry Kennedy all dotted down during the 22-19 success
In the subsequent top of the table clash with Samurai, Gearoid Lyons converted tries from Byrne and Alex Wootton to give the Wolfhounds a 14-5 interval, but last year’s tour winners hit back in the second half to take a hard-fought 15-14 victory.
The Irish youngsters bounced back in the semi-final to end Apache’s winning run in Colwyn Bay. A 10-0 first half advantage proved vital in the end as the Wolfhounds emerged as 24-19 winners. Horan touched down twice and Byrne and Roche scored one apiece. UCD and Leinster winger Byrne was the top Irish try scorer in Wales with four.
However, Samurai’s greater experience was decisive in the final as the Wolfhounds ended up as runners-up, maintaining their progress from the past fortnight where they finished fourth in Edinburgh and third in Coventry.
The focus for the Irish Men’s Sevens set-up now switches to the Rugby Europe Men’s Sevens Division B competition in Zagreb next weekend. Division C champions Ireland have been drawn in Pool B with Bulgaria, Slovenia and Austria.
IRELAND WOLFHOUNDS SEVENS Squad (GB7s Tour Stage 3, Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay, Wales, Saturday, June 13):
Alan Bennie (Clanwilliam/Munster)
Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Aaron Cairns (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Shane Layden (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Gearoid Lyons (Young Munster/Munster)
Diarmaid McCarthy (Young Munster/Munster)
David McGuigan (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Harry McNulty (UCD/Leinster)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Steve Toal-Lennon (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Alex Wootton (Garryowen/Munster)
2015 GB7s TOUR STAGE 3 – Ireland Results:
Pool B –
Ireland Wolfhounds 43 Welsh Charitables 0
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Adam Byrne 2, Ian Fitzpatrick, Diarmaid McCarthy 2, David McGuigan 2; Cons: Gearoid Lyons 4
Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, Adam Byrne, Alex Wootton, Steve Toal-Lennon, Harry McNulty, Gearoid Lyons, Diarmaid McCarthy.
Subs: Foster Horan, David McGuigan, Mark Roche, Shane Layden, Terry Kennedy, Alan Bennie, Aaron Cairns.
Ireland Wolfhounds 22 Co-Optimist 19
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Alan Bennie, Aaron Cairns, Foster Horan, Terry Kennedy; Con: Gearoid Lyons
Team: Foster Horan, David McGuigan, Alex Wootton, Mark Roche, Gearoid Lyons, Terry Kennedy, Alan Bennie.
Subs: Ian Fitzpatrick, Adam Byrne, Steve Toal-Lennon, Harry McNulty, Shane Layden, Diarmaid McCarthy, Aaron Cairns.
Ireland Wolfhounds 14 Samurai 15
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Adam Byrne, Alex Wootton; Cons: Gearoid Lyons 2
Team: David McGuigan, Adam Byrne, Alex Wootton, Steve Toal-Lennon, Harry McNulty, Shane Layden, Gearoid Lyons.
Subs: Foster Horan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Mark Roche, Diarmaid McCarthy, Terry Kennedy, Alan Bennie, Aaron Cairns.
Cup Semi-Final: Apache 19 Ireland Wolfhounds 24
Scorers: Ireland Wolfhounds: Tries: Foster Horan 2, Adam Byrne, Mark Roche; Cons: Gearoid Lyons 2
Team: Foster Horan, Ian Fitzpatrick, David McGuigan, Adam Byrne, Steve Toal-Lennon, Diarmaid McCarthy, Aaron Cairns.
Subs: Alex Wootton, Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Shane Layden, Gearoid Lyons, Terry Kennedy, Alan Bennie.
Cup Final: Samurai 29 Ireland Wolfhounds 24
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Ian Fitzpatrick, David McGuigan, Harry McNulty, Mark Roche; Cons: Gearoid Lyons 2
Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, David McGuigan, Adam Byrne, Harry McNulty, Shane Layden, Gearoid Lyons, Aaron Cairns.
Subs: Foster Horan, Alex Wootton, Steve Toal-Lennon, Mark Roche, Diarmaid McCarthy, Terry Kennedy, Alan Bennie.