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Ireland Women’s Sevens Development Side Set Up Russia Clash

Ireland Women’s Sevens Development Side Set Up Russia Clash

Having won two of their three pool games, the Ireland Women’s Sevens Development squad will face their Russian counterparts in tomorrow’s Cup quarter-finals of the Dubai 7s International Invitational tournament.

With experienced World Series campaigner Kim Flood leading by example, the Ireland youngsters secured pool victories over Wrravens (24-10) and the Belgium national team (14-10) to set up a last-eight date with the Russian Development side at 11am local time/7am Irish time tomorrow morning.

IRFU Director of Women’s and Sevens Rugby, Anthony Eddy, said the Dubai Invitational competition provides the players ‘with an opportunity for some valuable game-time and tournament experience’ and a chance to push for selection in this season’s other World Series events.

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The Irish Development squad is back-boned by ten Leinster players and also includes Ulster centre Brittany Hogan and Munster teenage talent Emily Lane, who captained the Ireland Under-18 Sevens side this season. It was nip and tuck in their opening game against Wrravens who included Canadian flyer Magali Harvey in their line-up.

After leaking an early breakaway try, Ireland hit back when neat footwork from Hogan (pictured above) saw her step inside the cover and score by the posts. Flood’s conversion came back off the posts, but the girls in green soon took the lead as Athlone native Anna McGann outpaced the defence out wide to make the line.

Despite leaking a soft try before half-time, Ireland came out stronger in the second half with Flood’s break in midfield and well-timed offload sending captain Jeamie Deacon clear from outside the Wrravens’ 22. Katie Heffernan added the conversion.

The 24-10 victory was wrapped up by a well-taken fourth try, scored by Railway Union’s Niamh Byrne. She stepped around a couple of defenders and muscled her way over the whitewash, reaching out to score with Heffernan landing her second conversion for good measure.

There was disappointment in the second round as a well-drilled and experienced Almaty team, full of Kazakhstan internationals, ran out comprehensive 31-0 winners over Ireland. However, Deacon and her team-mates bounced back to edge out Belgium 14-10 in their final Pool B outing, which was played on the main pitch at the Sevens Stadium.

Ireland controlled possession early on and the increasingly-influential Heffernan broke from inside her own half to score the opening try, converted by Flood. Another young midlands star in the making, McGann (pictured below), bagged a second seven-pointer when showing good strength to outmuscle a defender on the right wing and break free.

Belgium shifted scrum possession out wide to reduce the arrears to nine points, and they also ran in a breakaway effort before the finish, but those two converted scores from Heffernan and McGann proved just enough for the Irish Development team, the eventual Pool B runners-up. They will be back in action tomorrow morning against Russia, who also had a two-from-three record on day 1 with their only defeat coming against Wales (21-20).

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Dubai 7s Invitational Tournament, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, Thursday, November 30-Friday, December 1):

Kathy Baker (Blackrock/Leinster)
Niamh Byrne (Railway Union/Leinster)
Nicole Carroll (Suttonians/Leinster)
Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock/Leinster) (capt)
Daisy Earle (Railway Union/Leinster)
Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar/Railway Union/Leinster)
Brittany Hogan (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Emily Lane (Mallow/Munster)
Anna McGann (UCD/Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Garda/Westmanstown/St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Juliet Short (Railway Union/Leinster)

IRELAND WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT SEVENS RESULTS/FIXTURES – DUBAI 7s INVITATIONAL:

Thursday, November 30 –

Pool B:

Ireland Development 24 Wrravens 10, Pitch 4
Scorers: Ireland Development: Tries: Brittany Hogan, Anna McGann, Jeamie Deacon, Niamh Byrne; Cons: Kim Flood, Katie Heffernan

Team: Jeamie Deacon (capt), Kim Flood, Katie Heffernan, Anna McGann, Brittany Hogan, Molly Scuffil-McCabe, Niamh Byrne.

Subs used: Emily Lane, Juliet Short, Kathy Baker, Daisy Earle.

Ireland Development 0 Almaty RFC 31, Pitch 5
Scorers: Ireland Development: –

Team: Jeamie Deacon (capt), Kim Flood, Juliet Short, Katie Heffernan, Brittany Hogan, Molly Scuffil-McCabe, Niamh Byrne.

Subs used: Daisy Earle, Anna McGann, Brittany Hogan, Nicole Carroll, Emily Lane.

Belgium 10 Ireland Development 14, Sevens Stadium
Scorers: Ireland Development: Tries: Katie Heffernan, Anna McGann; Cons: Kim Flood 2

Team: Jeamie Deacon (capt), Kim Flood, Katie Heffernan, Anna McGann, Brittany Hogan, Molly Scuffil-McCabe, Niamh Byrne.

Subs used: Daisy Earle, Kathy Baker, Emily Lane.

Friday, December 1 –

Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland Development v Russia Development, Pitch 5, 11am local time/7am Irish time

Dubai 7s – Women’s International Invitational Results/Fixtures

Dubai 7s – Women’s International Invitational Pool Tables