Jump to main content

Menu

Ireland Women Win Plate Final In Kazan

Ireland Women Win Plate Final In Kazan

The Ireland Women improved with each game as they were crowned Plate champions at the first leg of the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series in Kazan, Russia.

Having lost their two opening matches to Spain and France yesterday, Ireland bounced back to win three of their next four fixtures at the Tuplar Sports Complex and secure a confidence-boosting fifth place finish.

Luck was not on their side when they leaked a try in the last play of this morning’s Cup quarter-final against England, going down 17-14 despite playing the better rugby against Women’s Sevens World Series opposition.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

But Lucy Mulhall and her team-mates recovered well to sweep Italy aside on a 31-5 scoreline, and they then edged out the Netherlands 14-10 in a gripping Plate decider where first half converted tries from Alison Miller and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe proved crucial.

Giving his reaction afterwards, Anthony Eddy, head coach and IRFU Director of Rugby Sevens, said: “The standard of the competition was particularly high with many teams having World Series experience. It was certainly a step up for us and the team performed well over the two days.

“It’s a tremendous learning curve for the team and the performance on day 2 was very pleasing. I’m sure the team has developed some confidence from this tournament and we look forward to the second European Grand Prix event next week (in France).”

To finish with silverware was just reward for the level of improvement and resilience shown by an Irish squad that included four international Sevens newcomers – Mulhall, Stacey Flood, Eimear Considine and Louise Galvin, who scored two excellent tries.

They had to cope with the pre-tournament withdrawal of Jenny Murphy (shoulder), who is expected to return for the Brive leg next weekend, Megan Williams was in the wars with a broken nose and knee injury while Claire Molloy (concussion) sat out day 2 but should be fit for Brive.

In a tightly-contested Cup quarter-final, Sarah McKenna’s angled run and break saw England take a 5-0 lead in the third minute, before Shannon Houston brilliantly nipped in between two defenders to score and Mulhall’s conversion took Ireland ahead.

Although McKenna converted Victoria Fleetwood’s try just before the break for 12-7, the strong-running Galvin answered back with a terrific individual effort, evading a defender on the outside before weaving back inside to the cover to score to the right of the posts.

Mulhall’s successful conversion nudged Ireland back in front, only for the English to hit back right at the death with Alexandra Matthews sprinting clear on the right wing to break Irish hearts.

Tellingly, Ireland then put together some of their best attacking rugby of the weekend to dominate the first half of their Plate semi-final against Italy. A half-break from Katie Fitzhenry made the first incision before slick Irish handling and movement paved the way for Galvin to send Miller over for an opening unconverted try.

They added two more tries before the interval with Six Nations winner Fitzhenry scoring both of them. Quick ruck ball and a neat switch by the lively Williams set up the first of them, and then Williams and Houston were to the fore at the breakdown as the quick-footed Fitzhenry finished smartly beside the posts.

17-0 in front at half-time, Ireland lost Williams to that knee injury early in the second half but the points kept coming as Mulhall took the scoring pass from Claire Keohane following the latter’s quickly-taken penalty and long range break. A solo score from Sara Barattin got Italy off the mark before Murphy Crowe had the final say, running in try number five after good work in the build-up from Laura Lee Walsh and Considine.

That runaway victory gave the girls in green a shot at silverware and they quickly seized control of the Plate final with a two-try salvo in the opening period. Keohane took up a great position at a ruck to force a penalty and the ball was moved wide for the ever-threatening Miller to break through a tackle and make the line.

Mulhall clipped over a well-struck conversion from the right and her accuracy with the boot was very important in a tense climax to the game. Some excellent interplay, with direct running from Keohane and Houston, led to try number two as Fitzhenry passed for Murphy Crowe to grab a seven-pointer.

Trailing 14-0, the Netherlands hit back from a quick turnover early in the second half as Pleuni Kievit scooted away up the right wing for an unconverted try. Ireland might have cancelled that score out but Galvin, having made an initial break, lacked the necessary support.

The momentum suddenly seemed to be with the Dutch as the Irish defence was outstripped and Anne Simone Hielckert touched down out wide on the left. Again, though, the conversion was missed and Ireland clawed back some important territory with very good carries from Mulhall and Murphy Crowe, who was Ireland’s joint-top try scorer in the tournament along with Fitzhenry (four each).

With the hooter sounding, a final penalty gave the Dutch a chance to attack from deep, but Houston expertly shepherded Pien Selbeck towards touch and dumped her over the line to confirm Ireland as Plate champions in Kazan.

Ireland captain Mulhall commented: “Over the weekend the team worked hard together and we’re constantly learning and improving. We now know what we are capable of and we’re setting our sights on the cup next weekend with a point to prove.”

Keep up to date with all the latest Ireland Sevens news on www.irishrugby.ie/sevens.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2015 Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series – Leg 1, Tulpar Sports Complex, Kazan, Russia, June 13-14):

Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Laura Lee Walsh (TID)
Lucy Mulhall (TID)* (capt)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)*
Shannon Houston (Blackrock/Leinster)
Megan Williams (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (St. Mary’s/Munster)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)
Eimear Considine (TID)*
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)*
Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)

RUGBY EUROPE SEVENS GRAND PRIX SERIES – KAZAN FINAL POSITIONS:

1. Russia (Cup champions) (20 series points)
2. France (18 points)
3. England (16 points)
4. Spain (14 points)
5. Ireland (Plate champions) (12 points)
6. Netherlands (10 points)
7. Italy (8 points)
8. Wales (6 points)
9. Scotland (Bowl champions) (4 points)
10. Portugal (3 points)
11. Ukraine (2 points)
12. Germany (1 point)

Kazan Pools/Results/Rankings

IRELAND WOMEN’S RESULTS –

Pool B – Saturday, June 13

Day 1 Round-Up & Reaction

Spain 24 Ireland 12
Scorers: Spain: Tries: Berta Garcia, Patricia Garcia, Vanesa Rial, Iera Echebarria; Cons: Patricia Garcia 2
Ireland: Tries: Shannon Houston, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Shannon Houston, Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Claire Molloy, Louis Galvin, Alison Miller.

Subs: Laura Lee Walsh, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eimear Considine, Megan Williams.

France 20 Ireland 7
Scorers: France: Tries: Camille Grassineau, Fanny Horta, Caroline Ladagnous 2
Ireland: Try: Louise Galvin; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Shannon Houston, Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Claire Molloy, Louise Galvin, Alison Miller.

Subs: Laura Lee Walsh, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eimear Considine, Megan Williams.

Ireland 38 Ukraine 7
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Claire Keohane, Alison Miller, Katie Fitzhenry 2, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 4
Ukraine: Try: Maryna Borodina; Con: Svitlana Hnatenko

Team: Shannon Houston, Megan Williams, Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Louise Galvin, Alison Miller.

Subs: Laura Lee Walsh, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eimear Considine, Claire Molloy.

Play-Offs – Sunday, June 14

Cup Quarter-Final: England 17 Ireland 14
Scorers: England: Tries: Sarah McKenna, Victoria Fleetwood, Alexandra Matthews; Con: Sarah McKenna
Ireland: Tries: Shannon Houston, Louise Galvin; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2

Team: Shannon Houston, Megan Williams, Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Louise Galvin, Alison Miller.

Subs: Laura Lee Walsh, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eimear Considine, Claire Molloy.

Plate Semi-Final: Ireland 31 Italy 5
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Alison Miller, Katie Fitzhenry 2, Lucy Mulhall, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 3
Italy: Try: Sara Barattin

Plate Final: Netherlands 10 Ireland 14
Scorers: Netherlands: Tries: Pleuni Kievit, Anne Simone Hielckert
Ireland: Tries: Alison Miller, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2

Team: Shannon Houston, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Katie Fitzhenry, Claire Keohane, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Louise Galvin, Alison Miller.

Subs: Laura Lee Walsh, Stacey Flood, Eimear Considine, Megan Williams, Claire Molloy.

IRELAND’S OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION PROCESS FOR RIO 2016:

1. As the Ireland Women’s Sevens team are not in the World Series, the route to the Olympics is through the regional qualifiers for Europe. This European Championship (2015) will be held over two consecutive weekends (Russia, June 13-14, and France, June 20-21). The winning team qualifies for the Olympics.

2. If Ireland does not win the European Championship (2015), qualification is possible in 2016 through the 2016 World Repechage.

To qualify for the World Repechage, Ireland must:

a. Finish as runners-up of the 2015 European Championship or
b. Finish in the top three of the European Repechage (Lisbon, July 2015)

The winners of the 2016 World Repechage will qualify for the Olympics.