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Two Wins Out Of Three For Ireland Men In Dubai

Two Wins Out Of Three For Ireland Men In Dubai

St. Mary’s College speedster Terry Kennedy scored a try in each round as the Ireland Men’s Sevens squad qualified for the Cup quarter-finals of the Dubai 7s International Invitational tournament today.

The Ireland Men missed out on a clean sweep of victories, going down 21-7 to the France Development side in the final round, but they advanced to the quarter-finals as Pool C runners-up courtesy of two wins out of three.

One of their rivals from last summer’s Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series, Germany, provided the opposition in the opening round. The men in green, wearing the new Ireland Sevens jersey, controlled the early possession and after a great break down the left by Jimmy O’Brien, his deft offload played in Alex McHenry for the first try.

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Captain Billy Dardis added a brilliant touchline conversion, before the Germans exposed Ireland out wide and closed the gap to 7-5. The sides were locked level at 12-all come half-time, but Ireland should have been ahead at the break.

A knock-on denied Terry Kennedy a try, following a nice break by Harry McNulty and further good work by O’Brien and Ian Fitzpatrick. Kennedy did get the score he deserved a few minutes later when he sprinted clear from his own half, evading three German chasers along the way.

However, Germany took advantage of a very harsh yellow card against O’Brien, who was alleged to have taken a player out in the air, and a missed tackle allowed them to level matters. Ireland regrouped and were the better team in the second half, outscoring their opponents by two tries to none.

They stuck a penalty into the corner and shifted the ball wide off the lineout. A couple of phases later, O’Brien scooted in by the posts for his UCD club-mate Dardis to convert. Ireland kept Germany pinned back in their own half with some big tackles from Fitzpatrick and Dardis.

Then, the clinching score arrived when John O’Donnell threw a dummy and caught out the German defence by switching play back inside for Dublin University’s Bryan Mollen who had a clear run to the try-line. Mark Roche converted for a 26-12 final scoreline.

Ireland kept up their winning form with a comprehensive 31-0 defeat of Old Georgians RFC, the Zimbabwean Sevens and 15s champions. Almost all of the damage was done in the first half with four unanswered tries registered.

Lansdowne clubman O’Donnell won turnover ball and raced down the left for the opener, converted by Dardis. Another turnover set up Kennedy for a length-of-the-field run and a well-taken solo score with Dardis’ successful kick making it 14-0.

Hugo Keenan got on the scoresheet when Ireland won a penalty from a scrum and recycled the ball swiftly for the Leinster-capped back to crash over. McNulty got up well to contest the restart and the ball broke for the well-placed O’Donnell to sprint in from halfway for try number four. The Old Georgians also lost a player to the sin-bin for dissent.

The final seven minutes were scrappy from an Irish point of view, the result wrapped up by a converted score from the pacy Mollen before Ireland were guilty of giving away a series of penalties. Fitzpatrick had a try ruled out for a forward pass, but replacement McHenry soon saw yellow for the accumulation of penalty offences.

Nonetheless, Ireland dug in to keep the Old Georgians scoreless with Kennedy making an important try-saving intervention. The 21-year-old Leinster Academy member then opened the scoring against France Development, taking a hard line to touch down out wide with Roche converting.

The French team used their pace and power to square things up at seven points apiece, and the sides were still level at the interval after Fitzpatrick, who hunted for a late try, was dragged into touch. It was France who were on top in the second half, though, as they ran out 21-7 winners.

More errors crept into Ireland’s game with a knock-on and a penalty conceded, allowing France to move the ball wide and score on the left for a 14-7 lead. They continued to control possession from the restart with Ireland guilty of slipping off tackles.

The men in green came under further pressure when Fitzpatrick was yellow carded, and the French had the rub of the green with their clinching third try. They appeared to be offside but there was no whistle from the referee and a score from a kick through, combined with a touchline conversion, sealed Ireland’s fate at 21-7 down.

Dardis and his team-mates will be back in action in tomorrow’s Cup quarter-finals, taking on the highly-rated South Africa 7s Academy outfit who finished top of Pool A with a trio of impressive wins over Monaco Impis (42-0), Canada Maple Leafs (33-5) and Samurai International (31-7). The last-eight clash kicks off at 12.40pm local time/8.40am Irish time.

Dubai 7s International Invitational Tournament – Results/Fixtures

Dubai 7s International invitational Tournament – Pool Tables

Tickets for the Dubai Rugby Sevens can be purchased online at www.dubairugby7s.com.

Buy the new Ireland Sevens jersey exclusively from Elverys – click here.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Dubai 7s Invitational Tournament, The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, Friday, December 1-Saturday, December 2):

Sean Cribbin (Suttonians)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Alex McHenry (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College)


Friday, December 1 –

Pool C:

Ireland 26 Germany 12, Pitch 7
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Alex McHenry, Terry Kennedy, Jimmy O’Brien, Bryan Mollen; Cons: Billy Dardis 2, Mark Roche

Old Georgians RFC 0 Ireland 31, Pitch 2
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: John O’Donnell 2, Terry Kennedy, Hugo Keenan, Bryan Mollen; Cons: Billy Dardis 2, Mark Roche

Ireland 7 France Development 21, Pitch 8
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Terry Kennedy; Con: Mark Roche

Saturday, December 2 –

Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland v SA 7s Academy, Pitch 6, 12.40pm local time/8.40am Irish time

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS 2017/18 Tournament Schedule –

Oktoberfest 7s, Munich, Germany – September 29-30 (Seventh Place)
Elche 7s, Elche, Spain – October 28-29 (Runners-Up)
Silicon Valley 7s, San Jose, USA – November 4-5 (Bowl Champions)
Dubai 7s, Dubai, UAE – December 1-2
Hong Kong 7s (World Series Repechage), Hong Kong – April 7-8
Amsterdam 7s, Amsterdam, Netherlands – June 9-10
Rugby World Cup Sevens, San Francisco, USA – July 20-22