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Ireland Women’s Sevens Development Team Finish As Runners-Up In Dubai

Ireland Women’s Sevens Development Team Finish As Runners-Up In Dubai

The youthful Ireland Women’s Sevens Development squad showed composure beyond their years to strike for two late wins and qualify for the Dubai 7s International Invitational tournament final, before Randwick Magic proved too strong in Friday’s decider.

Late tries from Railway Union’s Juliet Short against Russia Development and Katie Heffernan against a South African Tuks side earned the girls in green a place in the final of the hotly-contested International Invitational tournament in Dubai.

The World Series experience of the likes of Heffernan, Kim Flood, Niamh Byrne and Anna McGann, combined with the youthful exuberance of the teenage newcomers in the squad, helped the Irish Development team win four of their six games across the two days.

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They got off to a positive start in the Cup quarter-final against Russia Development. They won a penalty inside Russia’s 22, captain Jeamie Deacon tapped it and carried up hard into contact before Flood was able to put Byrne away for a try, which Flood converted with aplomb from out wide.

Russia turned the screw to lead 14-7 at half-time, scoring from halfway via a quick tap and then catching Ireland out around the side of a ruck to dot down under the posts. The Russians would have been further in front but for an excellent cover tackle by Ireland Under-18 Sevens captain Emily Lane.

Ireland were now playing with an increasing amount of pace and precision, and after Lane was held up just short, some patient build-up play was rewarded with a try from Heffernan, with Flood’s conversion attempt going just wide.

It was Railway Union’s Short who grabbed the match-winning score for Ireland in an eventual 17-14 victory. She showed great strength to power over from five metres out and deny the Russians right at the death.

At the semi-final stage, Ireland came up against the Delta Drone Tuks from South Africa. Their only try of the first half saw Flood combine with Byrne who drew in two defenders and put the supporting McGann over out wide, with the conversion off target.

The Tuks sandwiched that five-pointer with two unconverted tries to lead 10-5 at half-time. The next score was vital as Ireland needed to keep the game close and Molly Scuffil-McCabe duly delivered a crucial try, picking up from a ruck and scoring close to the posts for Flood to convert and make it 12-10. Deacon, who was superb in defence, and Heffernan were both prominent in the build-up.

Ireland’s inexperience showed when they knocked on from a scrum and the Tuks managed to score from an overlap with barely a minute to go. However, there was just enough time for Heffernan to rescue a 17-15 win from the jaws of defeat, brilliantly breaking from her own 22 to score a terrific match winner.

Despite a strong two-try finish, the final on the Sevens Stadium’s main pitch proved a game too far for this up-and-coming Irish side who lost out 15-10 to Randwick Magic. The Australians’ fitness levels, experience and excellent offloading had a telling impact as they opened up a considerable lead thanks to three unconverted tries.

However, Ireland launched a stirring fight-back on the back of a Heffernan try – her fourth of the tournament – set up by Short who went the direct route and provided a well-timed offload. They followed up with a second try out wide, with nice hands across the backs teeing up teenager Daisy Earle to score.

The girls in green turned down the conversion to ensure they had just enough time to restart and keep the game alive. Randwick were celebrating soon after as the Irish kick-off fell too short and 15-10 is how it finished.

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)
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 – 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.

Ireland Women’s Sevens Development Side Set Up Russia Clash

Friday, December 1 –

Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland Development 17 Russia Development 14, Pitch 5
Scorers: Ireland Development: Tries: Niamh Byrne, Katie Heffernan, Juliet Short; Con: Kim Flood

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

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

Cup Semi-Final: Delta Drone Tuks Ladies 15 Ireland Development 17, Pitch 2
Scorers: Ireland Development: Tries: Anna McGann, Molly Scuffil-McCabe, Katie Heffernan; Con: Kim Flood

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

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

Cup Final: Ireland Development 10 Randwick Magic 15, Sevens Stadium
Scorers: Ireland Development: Tries: Katie Heffernan, Daisy Earle

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

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

Dubai 7s – Women’s International Invitational Results

Dubai 7s – Women’s International Invitational Pool Tables