The Ireland Men’s Sevens squad got the job done in emphatic fashion in Zagreb, securing the Rugby Europe Division B title with an unblemished record of six wins, 384 points and 60 tries scored and none conceded.
Ireland added the Division B silverware to their Division C success from two weeks ago, and in the process qualified for the European Olympic Repechage tournament which takes place in Lisbon, Portugal on July 18-19.
The standard of opposition will increase significantly when the Irish side resume their summer campaign next month, with the winners in Lisbon going on to compete in the World Olympic Repechage in 2016 where they will play for the last spot at Rio 2016.
Having dominated their pool in Zagreb yesterday, captain Tom Daly and his team-mates met Malta in this morning’s Cup quarter-finals and once again managed to pass the half-century mark in a 76-0 win.
Ian Fitzpatrick (pictured below) touched down inside 40 seconds, a tidy spell of passing ending with Adam Byrne sending the Lansdowne clubman over on the right. Daly converted and Alex Wootton beat two defenders to quickly add try number two.
A strong midfield carry from David McGuigan preceded Wootton’s second score in the same right corner, Byrne’s athletic jump for Daly’s restart set up Harry McNulty’s fifth-minute try and further evasive running from Fitzpatrick put him in under the posts.
The tries kept coming as Daly provided the assist and conversion for a McGuigan effort and from a restart that was well won by McNulty, McGuigan linked up with Fitzpatrick for the latter’s hat-trick score.
Wootton stretched over to add to Ireland’s 43-0 half-time lead, Shane Layden tapped down for McNulty to charge through for another seven-pointer and a strong hand-off saw Layden break through again soon after. There was still time for two more tries, Diarmaid McCarthy popping up on Terry Kennedy’s shoulder to finish off a clinical move and Layden’s pace and power took him over in the left corner late on.
Ireland struck early again in their semi-final clash with Slovenia, Byrne nipping in between two players to grab the opening try which Gearoid Lyons converted. Aaron Cairns did the groundwork for the second seven-pointer, winning a penalty at the breakdown and taking a quick tap to dash down-field and release Daly to score.
The margin was out to 33-0 by half-time as McNulty, who showed great feet to evade two defenders, Cairns, who scored from a Lyons set-up, and Layden, who finished off a crisp four-man attack, all crossed the whitewash.
Into the second period, Young Munster winger McCarthy countered from a rare Slovenian break and Lyons’ quick feet saw him gallop away along the right touchline for another try.
Ireland added three more touchdowns to run out 59-0 winners, Lyons turning provider for McGuigan (pictured below) to raid in from the right, a Mark Roche interception putting Fitzpatrick clear and Kennedy then finishing smartly from a long cut-out pass from Roche. The only downside was that McNulty’s tournament was ended prematurely by an ankle ligament tear.
In the 20-minute final against Serbia, who qualified via a ‘golden score’ against hosts Croatia, Ireland built up another big lead with a very professional first half display. Cairns and Wootton went close to opening the scoring before Layden scrambled over to the left of the posts.
Wootton made it over in the left corner for the second try converted by Daly, and the Serbians fell 21-0 behind after Byrne burst forward and his well-timed lay-off sent Wootton weaving in under the posts.
Cairns picked up a loose ball from a Serbian scrum for try number four, and two more followed before the interval as Byrne gobbled up a Serbian kick to power over in the right corner and Cairns then put his Ballynahinch club-mate McGuigan away in the opposite corner.
Ireland posted up 50 points early in the second half via tries from Daly and McGuigan, with Layden involved in the build-up to both. The Buccaneers clubman’s clever grubber kick then played in the impressive McGuigan for his hat-trick score.
McCarthy attacked up the right wing and passed inside for Kennedy to make it 62-0, and the gallant Serbian defence gave way on two more occasions as they fell to a 74-0 defeat. Accurate passing along the line sent McCarthy over, before Byrne jinked away from three defenders to run in Ireland’s final try of the weekend.
Munster Academy member Wotton topped the try-scoring charts with 10 tries, followed by McGuigan and Layden (7 each), Daly (6) and McCarthy, Byrne and Fitzpatrick (5 each). Byrne (pictured below) was voted the Player of the Tournament.
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby Europe Men’s Division B, Stadion NSC Stjepan Spajic, Zagreb, Croatia, June 20-21):
Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Aaron Cairns (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Tom Daly (Lansdowne/Leinster) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (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)
Alex Wootton (Garryowen/Munster)
Rugby Europe Men’s Division B Results –
Pool B – Saturday, June 20
Slovenia 0 Ireland 54
Scorers: Slovenia: –
Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Alex Wootton 2, Diarmaid McCarthy, Gearoid Lyons, David McGuigan, Tom Daly, Adam Byrne; Cons: Mark Roche, Gearoid Lyons 2, Tom Daly 4
Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, Alex Wootton, Harry McNulty, David McGuigan, Tom Daly (capt), Aaron Cairns, Adam Byrne.
Subs: Mark Roche, Diarmaid McCarthy, Terry, Kennedy, Gearoid Lyons, Shane Layden.
Bulgaria 0 Ireland 64
Scorers: Bulgaria: –
Ireland: Tries: Ian Fitzpatrick, Alex Wootton 2, Terry Kennedy, David McGuigan, Shane Layden, Tom Daly 2, Aaron Cairns, Adam Byrne; Cons: Alex Wootton, Gearoid Lyons 2, Tom Daly 3, Adam Byrne
Team: Alex Wootton, Harry McNulty, Terry Kennedy, Shane Layden, Tom Daly (capt), Aaron Cairns, Adam Byrne.
Subs: Ian Fitzpatrick, Mark Roche, Diarmaid McCarthy, Gearoid Lyons, David McGuigan.
Ireland 57 Austria 0
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche 2, Alex Wootton, Diarmaid McCarthy 2, Harry McNulty, Shane Layden 2, Tom Daly; Con: Mark Roche, Gearoid Lyons 5
Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, Mark Roche, Diarmaid McCarthy, Gearoid Lyons, David McGuigan, Tom Daly (capt), Aaron Cairns.
Subs: Alex Wootton, Harry McNulty, Terry Kennedy, Shane Layden, Adam Byrne.
Play-Offs – Sunday, June 21
Cup Quarter-Finals –
Ireland 76 Malta 0
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Ian Fitzpatrick 3, Alex Wootton 3, Harry McNulty 2, David McGuigan, Shane Layden 2, Diarmaid McCarthy; Cons: Tom Daly 3, David McGuigan, Gearoid Lyons 4
Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, Mark Roche, Alex Wootton, Harry McNulty, David McGuigan, Tom Daly (capt), Adam Byrne.
Subs: Diarmaid McCarthy, Terry Kennedy, Gearoid Lyons, Shane Layden, Aaron Cairns.
Croatia 21 Switzerland 12
Serbia 26 Slovakia 10
Norway 14 Slovenia 22
Cup Semi-Final –
Ireland 59 Slovenia 0
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Adam Byrne, Tom Daly, Harry McNulty, Aaron Cairns, Shane Layden, Gearoid Lyons, David McGuigan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Terry Kennedy; Cons: Gearoid Lyons 6, Shane Layden
Team: Diarmaid McCarthy, Harry McNulty, Gearoid Lyons, Shane Layden, Tom Daly (capt), Aaron Cairns, Adam Byrne.
Subs: Ian Fitzpatrick, Mark Roche, Alex Wootton, Terry Kennedy, David McGuigan.
Croatia 10 Serbia 15 (golden score)
Cup Final –
Ireland 74 Serbia 0
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Shane Layden, Alex Wootton 2, Aaron Cairns, Adam Byrne 2, David McGuigan 3, Tom Daly, Terry Kennedy, Diarmaid McCarthy; Cons: Tom Daly 4, Gearoid Lyons 2, Terry Kennedy
Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, Alex Wootton, David McGuigan, Shane Layden, Tom Daly (capt), Aaron Cairns, Adam Byrne.
Subs: Mark Roche, Diarmaid McCarthy, Harry McNulty, Terry Kennedy, Gearoid Lyons.