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Mixed Results For Ireland Sevens Sides In Elche

Mixed Results For Ireland Sevens Sides In Elche

The Ireland Men’s and Women’s teams won one match apiece over the course of the opening day at II Torneo Internacional Rugby 7s in Elche, Spain.

The Ireland Women opened the Spanish invitational competition with a hard-fought 19-12 victory over Portugal, aided by two tries from powerful winger Alison Miller.

From a Portuguese clearance kick, Miller was fed possession on the left and she evaded the first tackle and used a strong hand-off to charge in behind the posts with just 49 seconds on the clock.

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Sevens debutant Kim Flood converted, but Portugal took advantage of some poor Irish defending to run in two tries and take a 12-7 half-time lead.

However, the girls in green bookended the closing seven minutes with two tries to deservedly take the verdict. Another storming run from Miller, setting off from the Portuguese 10-metre line, saw her burn two defenders on the outside for a seven-pointer.

Then, in the final minute, Aoife Doyle and Miller broke from deep. A quickly-taken penalty led to Shannon Houston making some hard yards before releasing Flood to use her pace and power to get over near the right corner flag.

Next up was a meeting with a strong British selection, yet Ireland got off to a flying start again as great combination play involving Megan Williams, Stacey Flood and busy captain Lucy Mulhall gave Amee-Leigh Crowe the opportunity to outpace a defender on the left and touch down.

Mulhall added the extras and despite leaking a converted try to Victoria Fleetwood, Ireland showed good strength in both attack and defence as a tightly-contested first half came to a close. Louise Galvin made a brilliant burst through the middle, only for an unfortunate knock-on from Mulhall to halt Ireland’s momentum.

The sides were locked level at seven points apiece, but the white shirts pulled clear in clinical fashion with a penalty try for a high tackle in the corner and two more touchdowns, the last one coming from Kay Wilson.

Audrey O’Flynn, Ashleigh Baxter and Williams led a resolute defensive effort in Ireland’s final pool game this evening, however two breakaway scores topped off a 21-5 success for hosts Spain.

Eli Martinez Garcia evaded a tackle from Crowe to give the Spanish a 7-0 interval advantage. Baxter knocked on under pressure from two defenders as Ireland missed out on a gilt-edged opportunity to respond.

Berta Garcia delighted the home fans when she broke up an Irish attack with a big tackle on Mulhall. With the ball now loose, she hacked it downfield and impressively won the race to the touchdown.

The margin was down to 14-5 after Miller and Mulhall got Ireland on the front foot and Crowe squeezed over in the left corner from a neat line of passes. But there was still time for Patricia Garcia to chip over the top and dribble the ball through to touch down ahead of the Irish chasers.

Meanwhile, the Ireland Men lost their opening encounter with Spain (19-7) before running out impressive 31-5 winners over Portugal at Campo José Díez Iborra.
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Ireland and Spain were level-pegging at the break (7-7), Marcos Poggi’s converted effort being cancelled out by Adam Byrne (pictured below) who scored out wide on the right after Terry Kennedy had weaved through over halfway on the counter. Credit to skipper Tom Daly and Matthew O’Regan for their breakdown work which forced a penalty in the build-up.

But Spain capitalised immediately on Alan Bennie’s yellow card for preventing a quick tap, breaking through for their second try before good distribution paved the way for a clinching third score late on.

Stan McDowell’s charges got back on track in their second outing against Portugal, tallying up five tries with Sevens newcomer Nick Timoney among their best performers.

Cian Aherne and Barry Daly, two Ulster Bank League regulars with UL Bohemians and UCD respectively, both crossed the whitewash to give Ireland a 12-0 buffer at half-time.

Aherne juggled the ball and caught the Portuguese defence off guard as he attacked in front of the posts, using a well-timed hand-off to nip through a gap and get in behind the posts.

Gearoid Lyons converted, and long-striding UCD winger Daly lifted the tempo further with a tremendous solo score. He picked up possession at the back of a ruck, some 40 metres out, and went on an arcing run that finished with him diving over in the left corner.

Portugal hung in there, pulling a try back early in the second period, before Ireland put a considerable gloss on the scoreline with three closing tries. Neat footwork and hands from Timoney was followed by Lyons cleverly drawing in the covering defender to put O’Regan away to the left of the posts.

With less than two minutes remaining, Tom Daly’s powerful surge from deep took him up to the Portuguese 10-metre line. He looped a pass out for Kennedy to gather and the St. Mary’s College flyer sidestepped away from the final man to score behind the posts.

Daly converted the try that he set up, and he also tagged on the extras to try number five scored by his Lansdowne club-mate Mark Roche. Profiting from turnover ball via Timoney, Roche showed great pace to charge clear from inside his 22 and none of his Portuguese pursuers were able to catch him as Ireland finished with a flourish.

Day 2 of the invitational tournament in Elche begins early tomorrow, with the girls in green back in action at 9am Irish time. The remaining pool and play-off fixtures will be live streamed here.

Day 2 Round-Up – Ireland Sevens Teams Wrap Up Busy Weekend In Elche

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (II Torneo Internacional Rugby 7s, Campo José Díez Iborra, Elche, Spain, Friday, November 13-Saturday, November 14):

Cian Aherne (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Alan Bennie (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Aaron Cairns (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Tom Daly (Lansdowne/Leinster) (capt)
Barry Daly (UCD/Leinster)
Matthew D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Gearoid Lyons (Young Munster/Munster)
Matthew O’Regan (Macclesfield/Exiles)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Nick Timoney (Queen’s University/Ulster)

Ireland Men’s Sevens Results/Fixtures –

Friday, November 13:

Spain 19 Ireland 7
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Adam Byrne; Con: Tom Daly

Ireland 31 Portugal 5
Scorers: Tries: Cian Aherne, Barry Daly, Matthew O’Regan, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche; Cons: Gearoid Lyons, Tom Daly 2

Saturday, November 14:

France v Ireland, 11.20am local time/10.20am Irish time
Play-Offs, 12.40pm local time/11.40am Irish time

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (II Torneo Internacional Rugby 7s, Campo José Díez Iborra, Elche, Spain, Friday, November 13-Saturday, November 14):

Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
Megan Williams (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Audrey O’Flynn (TID)
Emma Murphy (Railway Union/Leinster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Shannon Houston (Blackrock/Leinster)
Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster) (capt)
Eimear Considine (TID)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Munster)
Amee-Leigh Crowe (St. Mary’s/Munster)
Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)

Ireland Women’s Sevens Results/Fixtures –

Friday, November 13:

Portugal 12 Ireland 19
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Alison Miller 2, Kim Flood; Cons: Kim Flood 2

Ireland 7 Britain 26
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Amee-Leigh Crowe; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Spain 21 Ireland 5
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Amee-Leigh Crowe

Saturday, November 14:

Spain Development v Ireland, 10am local time/9am Irish time
Ireland v France, 11.40am local time/10.40am Irish time
Play-Offs, 1.20pm local time/12.20pm Irish time