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Ireland Girls Finish Sixth In European Sevens Tournament

Ireland Girls Finish Sixth In European Sevens Tournament

The Ireland Under-18 Sevens Girls squad battled their way to a sixth place finish at the Rugby Europe U-18 Grand Prix Seven Series in Liege, Belgium today.

The 12-team tournament concluded today with the Ireland girls gaining revenge on Wales, coming from 19-7 down to win an exciting Plate semi-final 26-19, either side of defeats to eventual Cup champions England (46-7) and the Netherlands (31-0) in the Plate decider.

Ireland’s bad run of luck with injuries continued with Bantry Bay’s Yvonne O’Shea damaging her ankle during this morning’s Cup quarter-final loss to England. This, in addition to the ankle knocks suffered by Molly Scuffil McCabe and Brittany Hogan yesterday, left coach Stan McDowell with only nine fit players for the final two games.

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Mullingar’s Katie Heffernan scored Ireland’s lone try against the English, selling a dummy and breaking from her own 10-metre line for a terrific individual effort which captain Chloe Blackmore converted.

The girls had an uphill task when trailing by 12 points at half-time in their clash with Wales, but they found an extra gear in the second half to run in three unanswered tries, showing great commitment, effort and skill in the process. Heffernan finished with a brace as did Blackmore.

The pacy Heffernan struck for Ireland’s only score of the first half, running onto a nicely delayed pass from Blackmore to dart clear over halfway and in by the posts. She opened the scoring in the second period with a neat sidestep off her right. And as gaps began to open up in the Welsh defence, Blackmore used her speed and strength to beat an initial tackle in midfield and sprint in under the posts from 40 metres out.

Her own conversion made it 21-19 and following an important challenge out wide from Louise Scully, a breakaway saw Thurles’ Gemma Dunican tackled agonisingly close to the line. Ireland kept the pressure on, though, and Blackmore proved unstoppable from a quick tap five metres out for what was the clinching try. Determined tackling from Scully and Railway Union’s Megan O’Brien kept the Welsh out of scoring range until a final knock-on ended their hopes.

Carrick-on-Suir starlet Blackmore was Ireland’s leading points and try scorer over the weekend with a 40-point haul that included five tries. The strong-running Heffernan also ended the tournament with five tries.

The exertions of a tough two days – and those injuries – caught up with Ireland in the Plate final as the fresher Dutch team ran out convincing five-try winners, leaving Blackmore and her team-mates sixth overall.

In underlining the importance of this tournament experience in bringing through Ireland’s future senior players, coach McDowell said: “This year’s underage Sevens programme has again highlighted some exciting talent coming through the provinces. It’s a very important part of the pathway to identify future internationals for both the 15s and Sevens jersey.”

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)

OVERALL STANDINGS:

1 – England (Cup champions)
2 – Spain
3 – Germany
4 – Portugal
5 – Netherlands (Plate champions)
6 – IRELAND
7 –
Wales
8 – Belgium
9 – Italy (Bowl champions)
10 – Ukraine
11 – Sweden
12 – Russia

IRELAND RESULTS:

Full Tournament Results/Fixtures/Pools

Day 1 Round-Up – Ireland U-18 Girls To Face England In European Quarter-Final

Saturday, September 12 –

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’Brien, Tracey Collopy, Eimear Corri, Louise Scully.

Sunday, September 13 –

Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland 7 England 46
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Katie Heffernan; Con: Chloe Blackmore

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

Subs: Megan O’Brien, Tracey Collopy, Louise Scully.

Plate Semi-Final: Ireland 26 Wales 19
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Chloe Blackmore 2, Katie Heffernan 2; Cons: Chloe Blackmore 3

Team: Eimear Corri, Megan O’Brien, Gemma Dunican, Katherine English, Robyn Gleeson, Katie Heffernan, Chloe Blackmore (capt).

Subs: Tracey Collopy, Louise Scully.

Plate Final: Ireland 0 Netherlands 31
Scorers: Ireland: –

Team: Eimear Corri, Megan O’Brien, Gemma Dunican, Katherine English, Robyn Gleeson, Katie Heffernan, Chloe Blackmore (capt).

Subs: Tracey Collopy, Louise Scully.