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Ireland U-18 Women Shine As Home Nations Sevens Champions

Ireland U-18 Women Shine As Home Nations Sevens Champions

Ireland U-18 Women Shine As Home Nations Sevens Champions

From San Francisco to Birmingham and back again, Ireland Sevens teams represented the country with distinction over the weekend and that was very much the case with the undefeated Under-18 Women’s side who were crowned overall Home Nations Series champions.

In Pics: Ireland Under-18 Women’s Sevens Team Triumph In Birmingham

The University of Birmingham was the venue for the second and final leg of the inaugural Under-18 Women’s Home Nations Sevens Series, and Ireland were looking to keep up their winning form from the opening tournament in Edinburgh two weeks ago.

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Coached by Adam Griggs and managed by Elaine Ryan, the girls in green excelled again to take their winning streak to 10 matches and underline their dominance of the competition. They came from 17-5 down at half-time to overhaul Wales late on in a fiercely-contested opener in Birmingham, and also held off a strong second half comeback from hosts England to win the final 28-19.

It was Ireland’s well-honed skills, composure on both sides of the ball and eye for the try-line which marked them out as the leading team. They chalked up 23 tries during their five games in the West Midlands, just one less than their Edinburgh tally, and again it was Ballinasloe’s Beibhinn Parsons who led the way with nine tries, including a hat-trick in the decider against England.

Parsons, who made her Ireland debut in the bronze medal-winning side at the Europeans in April, top-scored with a fantastic haul of 15 tries over the two-legged Home Nations competition. Captain Anna Doyle and Megan Burns notched four each in Birmingham, but it was very much a squad effort in terms of try scorers and try creators.

Tullow speedster Doyle (pictured below) was delighted with how the tournament panned out, saying: “I think as a team we had high hopes coming into this tournament as we wanted to retain our unbeaten streak. We had to step up our game this weekend as we were tested in every match.

“But we worked hard for each other which paid off in the end. It was a great experience and everyone’s delighted with the outcome and the improvements we made individually and as a team with the help of our coach Adam and the management.”

Griggs, the Ireland Women’s 15s head coach who joined the IRFU High Performance Unit Women’s Programme in April, told IrishRugby.ie: “This weekend the challenge for us was backing up such good performances from Edinburgh. As always when you’re defending champions, all your opposition lift their game when they play you and they put us under real pressure throughout the five games.

“The standard of rugby was much higher again and twice we had to come from behind to get our wins. There is true character and pride in these players which is something a coach cannot give them and is hugely exciting as we track the players development.

“It took a huge squad effort from all twelve girls who were led superbly by Anna once again and special mention must go to Beibhinn Parsons who was the tournament’s top try scorer. The squad now goes back to their provincial set-ups and we look forward to watching them in the upcoming Interprovincial Series in September where I’m sure they’ll carry on the hard work they’ve put in over the last month.”

With players like Mullingar’s Meadbh Scally stepping up with tries against Wales and Scotland on day one, the growing depth of talent saw 15 players get game-time over the course of the series. They have revelled in international competition, winning the UK School Games and Home Nations titles and European bronze all in the space of 11 months.

Six members of the Birmingham squad won the UK School Games last September alongside Eve Higgins, who has gone on to have a stellar first season in the Ireland senior set-up, capping it off with two tries at this weekend’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco. From club, school and province to the green jersey, the Sevens development pathway is delivering performances and results to be really proud of.

IRELAND UNDER-18 WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Under-18 Home Nations Sevens Tournament – Round 2, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England, Saturday, July 21-Sunday, July 22):

Maggie Boylan (Carrick-On-Suir RFC/Munster)
Megan Burns (Tullamore RFC/Leinster)
Meabh Deely (Ballinasloe RFC/Connacht)
Anna Doyle (Tullow RFC/Leinster) (capt)
Molly Fitzgerald (Navan RFC/Leinster)
Katie Hetherington (Clogher Valley RFC/Ulster)
Lucinda Kinghan (Monaghan RFC/Ulster)
Saoirse O’Reilly (Wicklow RFC/Leinster)
Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe RFC/Connacht)
Aoibheann Reilly (Ballinasloe RFC/Connacht)
Meadbh Scally (Mullingar RFC/Leinster)
Dorothy Wall (Fethard RFC/Munster)


Saturday, July 21 –

Ireland 29 Wales 22
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Beibhinn Parsons 2, Saoirse O’Reilly, Anna Doyle, Meadbh Scally; Cons: Meabh Deely 2

Team: Dorothy Wall, Katie Hetherington, Lucinda Kinghan, Meabh Deely, Megan Burns, Anna Doyle (capt), Saoirse O’Reilly.

Subs used: Maggie Boylan, Beibhinn Parsons, Meadbh Scally, Molly Fitzgerald, Aoibheann Reilly.

England 46 Scotland 0

Scotland 0 Wales 46

England 7 Ireland 31
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Beibhinn Parsons, Anna Doyle 3, Aoibheann Reilly; Cons: Megan Burns 3

Team: Dorothy Wall, Maggie Boylan, Lucinda Kinghan, Aoibheann Reilly, Megan Burns, Beibhinn Parsons, Anna Doyle (capt).

Subs used: Meabh Deely, Meadbh Scally, Molly Fitzgerald, Katie Hetherington, Saoirse O’Reilly.

England 17 Wales 17

Ireland 35 Scotland 5
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Beibhinn Parsons 3, Meadbh Scally, Megan Burns; Cons: Meabh Deely 5

Team: Meadbh Scally, Katie Hetherington, Molly Fitzgerald, Meabh Deely, Aoibheann Reilly, Beibhinn Parsons, Saoirse O’Reilly.

Subs used: Anna Doyle (capt), Maggie Boylan, Lucinda Kinghan, Megan Burns, Dorothy Wall.

Sunday, July 22 –

Semi-Final 1: Wales 5 England 26

Semi-Final 2: Ireland 26 Scotland 5
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Megan Burns 2, Dorothy Wall, Maggie Boylan; Cons: Meabh Deely 2, Megan Burns

Team: Dorothy Wall, Maggie Boylan, Lucinda Kinghan, Meabh Deely, Megan Burns, Beibhinn Parsons, Anna Doyle (capt).

Subs used: Aoibheann Reilly, Meadbh Scally, Molly Fitzgerald.

3rd-4th Place Play-Off: Wales 31 Scotland 12

Final: Ireland 28 England 19
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Beibhinn Parsons 3, Megan Burns; Cons: Meabh Deely 3, Megan Burns

Team: Dorothy Wall, Maggie Boylan, Lucinda Kinghan, Meabh Deely, Megan Burns, Beibhinn Parsons, Anna Doyle (capt).

Subs used: Aoibheann Reilly, Meadbh Scally.