A strong second half comeback in their 33-15 loss to England North gives the Ireland Under-18 Sevens Girls plenty of positives to take into day 2 of the 2015 Sainsbury’s UK School Games in Manchester.
The England North team made the early running in this afternoon’s Pool A clash at the Armitage Sports Centre, charging into a 26-5 half-time lead with four well-taken tries.
There was good initial running from Molly Scuffil McCabe and captain Chloe Blackmore, but some costly knock-ons prevented Ireland from progressing downfield.
Stan McDowell’s side were trailing 19-0 when Portlaoise speedster Eimear Corri scored the try of the game, breaking clear from her own half along the left touchline to dot down behind the posts.
Although England North answered back before the interval, Ireland had the better of the second half which saw them outscore their opponents by two tries to one.
Ballina’s Mairead Hopkins came more into the game as an attacking force. A knock-on blighted an early break from her before England North notched a sucker-punch score from long range.
Despite that concession, Ireland hit back with two confidence-boosting tries in the closing minutes. Hopkins used her strength to break a couple of tackles near halfway and she had the pace and power to finish off a terrific solo effort that was unconverted.
The girls in green kept pressing for a late third try and it eventually came. Ballynahinch’s Brittany Hogan, who went close to linking up with Corri for a score just minutes beforehand, was released to go over near the left corner flag by the influential Hopkins.
The Combined Provinces selection complete the pool stages tomorrow – they face Wales West at 10.22am and England South East at 11.58am before the eight teams contest the Cup quarter-finals (1.56pm-3.02pm). The Cup and Bowl semi-finals and finals will be run off on Sunday.
IRELAND UNDER-18 GIRLS SEVENS Squad (2015 Sainsbury’s UK School Games, Manchester, Friday, September 4-Sunday, September 6):
Eimear Corri (Portlaoise/Leinster)
Niamh Doran (Gorey/Leinster)
Molly Scuffil McCabe (Westmanstown/Leinster)
Chloe Blackmore (Carrick-on-Suir/Munster) (capt)
Robyn Gleeson (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Vicki Graham (Clogher Valley/Ulster)
Yvonne O’Shea (Bantry Bay/Munster)
Kate English (Carrick-on-Suir/Munster)
Shannon Touhey (Tullamore/Leinster)
Mairead Hopkins (Ballina/Connacht)
Brittany Hogan (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Sabrina Kennedy (Cill Dara/Leinster)
Friday, September 4 –
Ireland Four Provinces 15 England North 33
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Eimear Corri, Mairead Hopkins, Brittany Hogan
Team: Molly Scuffil McCabe, Robyn Gleeson, Chloe Blackmore (capt), Kate English, Eimear Corri, Yvonne O’Shea, Mairead Hopkins.
Subs: Niamh Doran, Sabrina Kennedy, Vicki Graham, Shannon Touhey, Brittany Hogan.
Saturday, September 5 –
10.22am: Ireland Four Provinces v Wales West
11.58am: Ireland Four Provinces v England South East
Sunday, September 6 –