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Ireland Concede Just One Try On The Way To Winning Second Moscow 7s Title

Ireland Concede Just One Try On The Way To Winning Second Moscow 7s Title

Ireland were crowned back-to-back Moscow 7s champions after sweeping all before them in the first leg of the 2018 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series. It is also a successful first step towards reaching next year’s World Sevens Series qualifier in Hong Kong.

Anthony Eddy’s men returned to the Russian capital where they first made a splash on their Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series debut last year. They were even more impressive winners this time around, scoring 28 tries and conceding just one – a penalty try in their 28-7 Cup final victory over Germany.

The wet and difficult underfoot conditions at Oktyabr Stadium tested the teams throughout the tournament, but Ireland were a class apart, defeating Poland (29-0), Portugal (35-0) and Germany (33-0) in yesterday’s pool stages, before overcoming Spain (26-0), France (31-0) and Germany in today’s knockout clashes.

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Terry Kennedy pipped the fit-again Jordan Conroy to the top try scorer accolade, the pacy pair terrorising defences over both days with Kennedy notching nine tries in all and Conroy finishing with eight touchdowns, including four alone against the French.

Eight players, including captain Billy Dardis, returned from last season’s victorious squad, and the Moscow silverware, which also sees Ireland pocket 20 Grand Prix Series points, will boost confidence levels heading into their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series appearances as an invitational team in London (June 2-3) and Paris (June 9-10).

Fresh from helping Eddy’s charges top Pool B yesterday, St. Mary’s College speedster Kennedy established a third-minute lead for Ireland in this morning’s quarter-final against Spain. Harry McNulty won Mark Roche’s kick-off and also stole a lineout a few minutes later, with possession moved wide to the right where Kennedy’s pace saw him scorch in between two defenders on a 50-metre run to the line.

Roche converted and Ireland’s high work-rate, typified by influential forward McNulty, kept Spain pinned back in their half for the entire opening period. Conroy and John O’Donnell had a couple of cuts at the defensive line, the former bringing Ireland deep into the 22 but after the ball was shifted wide, Kennedy was denied by a last-ditch tackle in the left corner.

The second half was only 45 seconds’ old when Conroy evaded a tackle on halfway and sprinted in behind the posts to make it 14-0. Ireland maintained a high tempo with Conroy’s pace quickly taking them back into scoring range. The Spanish conceded a close range penalty and McNulty and Kennedy set up Hugo Keenan to crash in under the posts for a seven-pointer.

The replacements got in on the act in the final minutes, Dardis seizing turnover ball off the back of a Spain scrum and he linked with Suttonians’ Sean Cribbin who put Shannon clubman Greg O’Shea sliding over in the left corner despite being tackled by the Spanish cover. A despairing tackle denied Shane Daly a try in the opposite corner past the full-time hooter.

Building on that 26-0 success against the Spanish, McNulty led Ireland again for their semi-final showdown with France. Ian Fitzpatrick gobbled up the kick-off to give his side the first opportunity to attack. They took it with both hands as Kennedy drew in a defender and passed for Conroy to outpace the cover and score from the left wing after just 20 seconds.

Conroy doubled his tally by the third-minute mark, Kennedy again turning provider after tapping a penalty and tying in two defenders. The same two players combined for Ireland’s third try in the fifth minute, Conroy burning past a defender and stepping around the final one to score wide on the right.

Kennedy was next over the whitewash on the stroke of half-time, Conroy this time supplying the assist as the Leinster Academy flyer sped over from outside the French 22 for a 24-0 advantage. France fielded a development team in Moscow but they did include Alexandre Lagarde, Jonathan Laugel and Guillaume Manevy, who are part of their squad preparing for the final two legs of the World Series.

The French lost Simon Bienvenu to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on, and scrum ball was moved out to Conroy who cut in past a defender to scoot in under the posts for his fourth score of the game, converted by Dardis. The Irish bench was emptied for the final three minutes, giving valuable game-time to youngsters Robert Baloucoune and Cribbin, in particular.

Germany, who finished as runners-up in the World Series qualifier last month and beat hosts Russia earlier today at the quarter-final stage (12-5), were Ireland’s opponents in the Cup final. Eddy’s side were quickest out of the blocks with Kennedy again on fir.

Inside the opening minute, brilliant footwork from Kennedy saw him leave two defenders for dead to give Ireland a 7-0 lead. O’Donnell proved an elusive runner in midfield, finding gaps in the German defence before Kennedy set up Conroy for another try-scoring run from halfway, with Roche adding a well-struck conversion from the right.

14-0 is how it stayed up to the interval, Ireland’s defence holding up well in their own 22, however a prolonged spell of German pressure earned them a penalty try in the 10th minute. O’Donnell was also yellow carded for deliberately knocking the ball out over the end-line, just ahead of a German player.

Six-man Ireland swiftly responded straight from the restart as Kennedy attacked out to the left, slicing in between two defenders and accelerating clear for a superb 70-metre score, converted by Roche. Despite a late sin-binning for Keenan, turnover ball from a lineout saw Kennedy release Dardis from just inside the Irish half and the skipper’s diagonal run took him over in the right corner for the fourth and final try, past the hooter.

Tickets to watch Ireland compete in the London 7s at Twickenham are available to buy here, with Dardis and his team-mates set to face Australia, Wales and Spain in a mouth-watering pool line-up. Three weeks after the Paris tournament, they will return to France for the second round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series in Marcoussis (June 30-July 1) and the following week they compete in the third round in Exeter (July 7-8).

The Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams will both compete at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco over the weekend of July 20-22 at AT&T Park – tickets are available to buy here. The final round of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series takes place in Lodz, Poland on September 8-9.

Follow the Ireland Women’s and Men’s Sevens sides this season in our exclusive behind-the-scenes series – On The Road with the Ireland 7s.

The Ireland Sevens jerseys are available to buy online here from Elverys Intersport, official sports retailer of the IRFU.

FULL VIDEO REPLAY – CUP QUARTER-FINAL: IRELAND 26 SPAIN 0 (30:01-49:58) by Rugby Europe

FULL VIDEO REPLAY – CUP SEMI-FINAL: IRELAND 31 FRANCE 0 (1:15:36-1:34:56) by Rugby Europe

FULL VIDEO REPLAY – CUP FINAL: IRELAND 28 GERMANY 7 by Rugby Europe

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2018 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series – Round 1, Oktyabr Stadium, Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 19-Sunday, May 20):

Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ulster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS RESULTS – MOSCOW 7s:

Saturday, May 19 –

Pool B:

Ireland 29 Poland 0, Oktyabr Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy, John O’Donnell, Harry McNulty; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis

Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell, Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Shane Daly, Greg O’Shea, Sean Cribbin, Robert Baloucoune.

Ireland 35 Portugal 0, Oktyabr Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Shane Daly, Jordan Conroy, Billy Dardis, Terry Kennedy 2; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis 4

Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell, Shane Daly, Mark Roche, Greg O’Shea, Robert Baloucoune, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis (capt), Terry Kennedy, Harry McNulty, Sean Cribbin.

Ireland 33 Germany 0, Oktyabr Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy 2, Robert Baloucoune, Harry McNulty, Hugo Keenan; Cons: Billy Dardis 4

Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell, Harry McNulty, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Robert Baloucoune.

Subs used: Shane Daly, Mark Roche, Jordan Conroy, Sean Cribbin, Greg O’Shea.

Day 1 Round-Up: Kennedy Leads The Try-Scoring As Ireland Impress In Moscow 7s

Sunday, May 20 –

Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland 26 Spain 0, Oktyabr Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy, Hugo Keenan, Greg O’Shea; Cons: Mark Roche 3

Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell, Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Greg O’Shea, Shane Daly, Sean Cribbin, Billy Dardis (capt), Robert Baloucoune.

Cup Semi-Final: Ireland 31 France 0, Oktyabr Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy 4, Terry Kennedy; Cons: Mark Roche 2, Billy Dardis

Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell, Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Robert Baloucoune, Shane Daly, Greg O’Shea, Sean Cribbin.

Cup Final: Ireland 28 Germany 7, Oktyabr Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy 2, Jordan Conroy, Billy Dardis; Cons: Mark Roche 3, Billy Dardis

Team: Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell, Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Shane Daly. Not used: Greg O’Shea, Robert Baloucoune, Sean Cribbin.

The full results/pools/rankings are available to view on the Rugby Europe tournament page.