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Ireland Women Make Big Breakthrough With Sydney Semi-Final Place

Ireland Women Make Big Breakthrough With Sydney Semi-Final Place

Ireland's Eve Higgins scores a try against Spain on day two of the Sydney 7s ©Mike Lee/KLC Fotos/World Rugby

The Ireland Women’s Sevens team’s 22-7 overnight win over Spain saw them make history as they qualified for their first ever HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series semi-final.

Women’s Sevens Series Day 2 – Live Stream Replay

In Pics: Ireland Women Make Sevens Series History In Sydney

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe touched down twice in the Cup quarter-final victory over their European rivals, which sets up a shot at tournament hosts and defending champions Australia in the last-four later today at Spotless Stadium (10.56pm Irish time/9.56am local time).

The result maintained Ireland’s unbeaten run in Sydney after they topped Pool B yesterday having got the better of both Canada – for only the second time in series history – and Fiji, on the back of a first round draw with Russia. With France and Russia both losing their quarter-finals, Anthony Eddy’s side will be the top European finishers this weekend.

Captain Lucy Mulhall commented: “It means a lot (to get through to the semi-finals). We’ve worked really hard the last couple of years, as has every team. We came here this weekend, we wanted to do it for the girls at home. We have a really good bond between us as a squad and we’ve been working really hard together.

“So just as much as it’s for the twelve of us here and Katie Heffernan, the 13th man, it’s also for all the girls at home awake in their beds watching this in the early hours of the morning.”

Although missing some frontliners in the form of the injured Stacey Flood, Ashleigh Baxter and Katie Fitzhenry, Ireland’s squad depth at this level continues to grow with the 17-year-old Beibhinn Parsons and Emily Lane (20) making their series debuts in Sydney. Brittany Hogan and Anna McGann are also only 20 years of age.

It was 19-year-old play-maker Eve Higgins who opened the scoring in the quarter-final clash, with her weaving run off a scrum flooring two defenders and Murphy Crowe’s return pass released her to dive over after two minutes.  Higgins hunted down a second try but on this occasion she could not link with the trailing Murphy Crowe.

A slap-down of a Spanish pass earned McGann a yellow card, although Spain were unable to get out of their own half. Ireland were forcing errors and then, once back on the ball, some pick and goes – with Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird leading the way – led to Mulhall electing to send a penalty through the uprights to open up a 10-0 interval lead.

The returning McGann made up for her indiscretion by carrying hard into contact before Murphy Crowe ghosted in between two defenders and dashed in behind the posts for try number two, which Mulhall converted. The Tipperary speedster completed her brace in the 12th minute, finishing smartly out wide after Hannah Tyrrell and McGann’s hard work in the build-up.

Murphy Crowe is the Sydney 7s top try scorer with six so far, but Spain did gain some late consolation with a hard-earned score from replacement Libe Erbina. There was no catching Ireland, though, and they will relish going up against Australia, a team they lost to by just two points (21-19) in their last meeting in Glendale in October.

For more information on the Sydney 7s, or to buy tickets, visit the tournament website here. Information on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, including where to watch, is available here.

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

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2018/19 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series – Sydney 7s, Spotless Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia, Friday, February 1-Sunday, February 3):

Aoife Doyle (Railway Union/Shannon/Munster)
Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Katie Heffernan (Railway Union/Mullingar/Leinster)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)
Brittany Hogan (Railway Union/Ulster)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Anna McGann (Old Belvedere/UCD/Leinster)
Emily Lane (Mallow/Munster)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum) (capt)
Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Old Belvedere/Munster)
Audrey O’Flynn (Ireland Sevens)
Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Connacht) *
Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

* Denotes uncapped player at this level

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS RESULTS/FIXTURES – SYDNEY 7s:

Friday, February 1 –

Pool B:

Ireland 7 Russia 7, Spotless Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Eve Higgins; Con: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Louise Galvin, Audrey O’Flynn, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Emily Lane.

Subs used: Aoife Doyle, Anna McGann, Brittany Hogan, Hannah Tyrrell. Not used: Beibhinn Parsons.

Ireland 15 Canada 14, Spotless Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Louise Galvin, Hannah Tyrrell, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Team: Louise Galvin, Anna McGann, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Hannah Tyrrell, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins.

Subs used: Emily Lane. Not used: Aoife Doyle, Audrey O’Flynn, Brittany Hogan, Beibhinn Parsons.

Ireland 24 Fiji 19, Spotless Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 3, Béibhinn Parsons. Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2

Team: Louise Galvin, Anna McGann, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Beibhinn Parsons.

Subs used: Aoife Doyle, Audrey O’Flynn, Brittany Hogan. Not used: Emily Lane, Hannah Tyrrell.

Day 1 Round-Up – Ireland Women Go Undefeated To Take Sydney Pool Win

Saturday, February 2 –

Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland 22 Spain 7, Spotless Stadium, Sydney
Scorers: ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 2; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2; Pen: Lucy Mulhall

Team: Louise Galvin, Anna McGann, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Hannah Tyrrell, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

Subs used: Aoife Doyle, Brittany Hogan, Emily Lane, Beibhinn Parsons. Not used: Audrey O’Flynn.

Cup: Semi-Final: Australia v Ireland, Spotless Stadium, Sydney, kick-off 10.56pm Irish time/9.56am local time