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Two-Try Dardis Leads Ireland Men Into Challenge Final

Two-Try Dardis Leads Ireland Men Into Challenge Final

The Ireland’s Men Sevens team will have a shot at silverware when they clash with Australia in the Challenge final of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in a few hours’ time (kick-off 4.08pm local time/12.08am Irish time).

MEN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS – CHALLENGE SEMI-FINAL: Sunday, July 22

IRELAND 27 WALES 12, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis 2, Jordan Conroy, Shane Daly; Con: Billy Dardis

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A brace of tries from captain Billy Dardis, coupled with scores from Hugo Keenan, Jordan Conroy and replacement Shane Daly, saw Stan McDowell’s men win the all-Celtic Challenge semi-final (live on eir Sport 1/live streaming via www.rwcsevens.com (in certain countries)/highlights on ITV 4). as they ran out deserved 27-12 winners over Wales.

It was their second victory over a World Series core team this weekend, following yesterday’s 24-14 dismissal of Kenya at the quarter-final stage, and means they will finish the World Cup in either ninth or tenth position. Australia advanced to the Challenge decider with a 19-7 triumph over Canada.

Harry McNulty applied the pressure to force a knock-on at the kick-off, the immediate possession allowing Jimmy O’Brien and Ian Fitzpatrick to gain ground on opposite wings. Wales sought a turnover at ruck time but McNulty and Conroy retained scrappy ball before Dardis cleverly lofted a long pass over Cory Allen for the unmarked Keenan to touch down, two minutes in.

Dardis narrowly missed the conversion from the right and Ireland were able to absorb a couple of Welsh attacks, drawing a penalty to break up their flow. From the subsequent lineout near halfway, skipper Dardis sprung through a gap in the defensive line and handed off his Welsh counterpart Luke Treharne for a terrific solo score with six minutes gone.

The conversion sailed away to the right, leaving it 10-0, and the Welsh manufactured a timely response right on half-time. Replacement Foster Horan was whistled up for going off his feet, and the resulting penalty led to Luke Morgan shrugging off Conroy near the left touchline and speeding clear for a 60-metre try which was converted.

Importantly, Ireland replied within a minute of the restart. It was a classic team score full of pace, deceptive angles of running and fiercely-determined support play as Conroy, O’Brien and Horan carved their way through from halfway with O’Brien supplying the final pass for fellow Naas man Dardis to canter in behind the posts unopposed. His conversion gave Ireland some breathing space at 17-7.

Referee Damon Murphy felt Morgan’s attempt to intercept a Dardis pass was a genuine one, although the replays suggested otherwise and the Welsh flyer was fortunate to avoid a yellow card. The scrum possession was worked across to Conroy, just inside the Irish half, and he gained revenge on Morgan with a nice fend and burst of acceleration to run in his fourth try of the tournament.

The fresh legs of Afon Bagshaw gave Wales some late hope with a well-taken five-pointer from long range. Conroy’s chase made the conversion difficult and Ethan Davies pushed his kick wide at 22-12, but Ireland slammed the door shut with a sparkling fifth and final try.

Keenan was the creator, stepping away from two players and passing out of a tackle near the Irish 10-metre line for replacement Daly to show a clear pair of heels to Adam Thomas and dive over in the right corner. Ireland showed no signs of dropping the intensity in the dying seconds, with Fitzpatrick first in at the breakdown to win a penalty which ended Wales’ hopes of creating an opening past the final hooter.

TIME LINE: 2 minutes – Ireland try: Hugo Keenan – 5-0; conversion: missed by Billy Dardis – 5-0; 6 mins – Ireland try: Billy Dardis – 5-0; conversion: missed by Billy Dardis – 10-0; 7+1 mins – Wales try: Luke Morgan – 10-5; conversion: Luke Treharne – 10-7; Half-time – Ireland 10 Wales 7; 9 mins – Ireland try: Billy Dardis – 15-7; conversion: Billy Dardis – 17-7; 11 mins – Ireland try: Jordan Conroy – 22-7; conversion: missed by Billy Dardis – 22-7; 12 mins – Wales try: Afon Bagshaw – 22-12; conversion: missed by Ethan Davies – 22-12; 14 mins – Ireland try: Shane Daly – 27-12; conversion: missed by Hugo Keenan – 27-12; Full-time – Ireland 27 Wales 12

Team: Harry McNulty, Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O’Brien, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Foster Horan, Shane Daly, Terry Kennedy, Greg O’Shea.

Follow the Ireland Women’s and Men’s Sevens teams 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.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens, AT&T Park, San Francisco, USA, Friday, July 20-Sunday, July 22):

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

IRELAND MEN’S RWC SEVENS Results/Fixtures –

Friday, July 20:

Pre-Round of 16: Ireland 17 Chile 12, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis, Jimmy O’Brien; Con: Billy Dardis

Match Report: Ireland Men Leave It Late As O’Brien Try Knocks Out Chile

Team: Shane Daly, John O’Donnell, Harry McNulty, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Jimmy O’Brien, Terry Kennedy, Ian Fitzpatrick. Not used: Foster Horan, Greg O’Shea.

Round of 16: South Africa 45 Ireland 7, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Terry Kennedy; Con: Hugo Keenan

Match Report: Kenya Next Up For Ireland Men Following Heavy Loss To Blitzboks

Team: Foster Horan, Harry McNulty, John O’Donnell, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O’Brien, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Terry Kennedy, Ian Fitzpatrick, Shane Daly, Greg O’Shea.

Saturday, July 21:

Challenge Quarter-Final: Kenya 14 Ireland 24, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan, Jordan Conroy 3; Cons: Billy Dardis 2

Match Report: Conroy Cuts Loose With Hat-Trick As Ireland See Off Kenya

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

Subs used: Jordan Conroy, Foster Horan, Shane Daly. Not used: Greg O’Shea.

Sunday, July 22:

Challenge Semi-Final: Ireland 27 Wales 12, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis 2, Jordan Conroy, Shane Daly; Con: Billy Dardis

Team: Harry McNulty, Ian Fitzpatrick, John O’Donnell, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O’Brien, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Foster Horan, Shane Daly, Terry Kennedy, Greg O’Shea.

Challenge Final: Australia v Ireland, AT&T Park, San Francisco, 4.08pm local time/12.08am Irish time

More details on the Rugby World Cup Sevens are available here. Tickets are available to purchase here via the tournament website. There are single-day tickets in all seating categories and three-day tickets.