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Ireland U-18 Girls To Face England In European Quarter-Final

Ireland U-18 Girls To Face England In European Quarter-Final

The Ireland Under-18 Girls finished third in Pool B on the opening day of the Rugby Europe Under-18 Grand Prix Seven Series in Liege, Belgium. They will play defending champions England in tomorrow morning’s Cup quarter-finals (9am Irish time).

The Ireland youngsters, coached by Stan McDowell, opened the pool stages with a 21-12 victory over Italy on a rain-soaked pitch. Eimear Corri and Chloe Blackmore continued where they left off at the UK School Games last week, running in a try apiece with Mullingar’s Katie Heffernan also touching down.

Italy made a strong start, forcing Ireland onto the back foot and a couple of knock-ons prevented Corri and company from breaking from deep. However, late in the half, the Portlaoise speedster managed to dash away up the right touchline to cancel out an early converted effort and make it 7-all for half-time.

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A turnover from a scrum saw the Italians go over for a second try out wide, but Blackmore led a swift response with a fantastic solo try from her 22-metre line, slicing open the Italian defence and backing herself to go all the way and in under the posts.

Sprung from the bench, Heffernan brilliantly repeated the trick with another length-of-the-field score, striking for the match winner just moments after Corri had produced a try-saving tackle to deny the Italians.

Inspirational captain Blackmore crossed the whitewash in all three pool matches, but her side were edged out in two tight encounters with Spain (22-14) and Wales (10-7).

In the final round against Wales, Heffernan threatened from an early kick through before Blackmore showed a fine turn of pace to split the Welsh defence for a try she converted herself. However, Ireland leaked two five-pointers in the second half and lost out in a very hard-fought finish.

The clash with the Welsh was a real war of attrition, played in worsening conditions, with Molly Scuffil McCabe and Brittany Hogan sustaining ankle injuries during the first half. That means that Ireland will compete on day 2 with only 10 fit players in their squad.

The girls in green are back in action in the morning (10am Belgian time/9am Irish time), taking on last year’s winners England in the Cup quarter-finals. The unbeaten English team topped Pool A with the Netherlands leading the way in Pool C, also with three wins from three.

IRELAND UNDER-18 GIRLS SEVENS Squad (2015 Rugby Europe Under-18 Grand Prix Sevens Series, Centre sportif du Blanc Gravier, Liege, Belgium, Saturday, September 12-Sunday, September 13):

Yvonne O’Shea (Bantry Bay/Munster)
Eimear Corri (Portlaoise/Leinster)
Gemma Dunican (Thurles/Munster)
Katherine English (Carrick-on-Suir/Munster)
Brittany Hogan (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Megan O’Brien (Railway Union/Leinster)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar/Leinster)
Molly Scuffil McCabe (Westmanstown/Leinster)
Chloe Blackmore (Carrick-on-Munster) (capt)
Tracey Collopy (Shannon/Munster)
Robyn Gleeson (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Louise Scully (Portlaoise/Leinster)


Saturday, September 12 –

Full Tournament Results/Fixtures/Pools

Pool B:

Ireland 21 Italy 12
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Eimear Corri, Katie Heffernan, Chloe Blackmore; Cons: Chloe Blackmore 3

Team: Yvonne O’Shea, Katherine English, Megan O’Brien, Molly Scuffil McCabe, Chloe Blackmore (capt), Tracey Collopy, Eimear Corri.

Subs: Gemma Dunican, Brittany Hogan, Katie Heffernan, Robyn Gleeson, Louise Scully.

Ireland 14 Spain 22
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Chloe Blackmore, Katie Heffernan; Cons: Chloe Blackmore 2

Team: Yvonne O’Shea, Gemma Dunican, Brittany Hogan, Robyn Gleeson, Chloe Blackmore (capt), Katie Heffernan, Eimear Corri.

Subs: Katherine English, Megan O’Brien, Molly Scuffil McCabe, Tracey Collopy, Louise Scully.

Ireland 7 Wales 10
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Chloe Blackmore; Con: Chloe Blackmore

Team: Yvonne O’Shea, Gemma Dunican, Brittany Hogan, Robyn Gleeson, Chloe Blackmore (capt), Katie Heffernan, Molly Scuffil McCabe.

Subs: Katherine English, Megan O’Brian, Tracey Collopy, Eimear Corri, Louise Scully.

Sunday, September 13 –

Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland v England, 10am local time/9am Irish time