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Ireland Men Secure Place At European Olympic Qualifier

Ireland Men Secure Place At European Olympic Qualifier

Ireland forward Harry McNulty started all three pool games in Moscow, scoring a try in the first round win over Romania ©INPHO/Yu Chun Christopher Wong

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team won two of their three pool games at the Moscow 7s to reach the quarter-finals and book their place at the upcoming Rugby Europe Olympic qualifying tournament in Colomiers.

Only the top nine sides in Moscow advance to the Olympic qualifier in Colomiers on July 13-14, so the guaranteed top-eight finish sees Ireland safely through. There is still a huge amount to play for on day two as the final placings in Moscow will decide the seedings for Colomiers.

A strong France outfit with a lot of World Series experience handed Ireland their lone defeat in the Pool A decider, following earlier wins over Romania (29-0) and Italy (26-14). Converted tries from Terry Kennedy and captain Billy Dardis established an early lead, but the French dominated the second half to run out 38-14 winners.

Anthony Eddy’s men, who face Pool C winners Spain in tomorrow’s quarter-finals (11.44am local time/9.44am Irish time), returned to the Russian capital as back-to-back Moscow 7s champions. They opened the tournament with a five tries-to-none victory over Romania. Recent debutant Jack Kelly and Ian Fitzpatrick both crossed for a 12-0 half-time lead.

Successive yellow cards on the restart left Romania under the pump, and Greg O’Shea fielded a clearance kick and quickly combined with Kennedy to release Jordan Conroy on the outside for a try behind the posts. Shane Daly evaded a tackle on the opposite left wing for try number four, and a fifth followed from Harry McNulty in the same corner.

Italy provided a stiffer challenge in the second round, although Ireland were able to move 19-0 clear by the break. Kelly’s turnover penalty and subsequent break set up Dardis for the opener. O’Shea made it 12-0 via a well-timed pass back inside from Conroy, and Kelly used a nice step off his right to grab a deserved try before the hooter.

However, the Italians came right back into it with two quick-fire tries early in the second half. Juan Alejandro Wagenpfeil’s offload following a close-in lineout put Gianmarco Vian over for the first score, before Nicolo Zuliani fastened onto a breaking ball straight from the restart to cut the gap to just five points.

Eddy’s charges wrestled back control for most of the remaining three minutes, with the match-winning try coming when Shane Daly’s long flat pass released Bryan Mollen up the left wing and he converted a two-on-one as fellow replacement Hugo Lennox scampered in behind the posts from 40 metres out.

Ireland appeared to have the early momentum against France, claiming a 14-0 lead with some clinical attacking. The French miscued their kick-off and leaked a penalty, with the subsequent possession from the Irish lineout transferred wide to the opposite right wing where Kennedy had the pace to dot down in the corner.

Dardis landed a pinpoint conversion and also added the extras to his try, which came from French ruck ball which squirted loose and O’Shea gobbled it up to feed his onrushing skipper. But, with their own captain Jean Pascal-Barraque to the fore, France hit back with two tries to leave the match delicately poised at 14-12 at the interval.

Some slick build-up play teed up Remi Siega to open their account, and a late second touchdown followed from Barraque as the French took advantage of a limping Conroy who had injured himself when being tackled. Ten of their Moscow squad had helped France win silver medals at the Vancouver and Hong Kong legs of this season’s World Series and it showed during the closing half.

With gaps opening in the Irish defence and Conroy having to go off, Barraque turned the screw with a clever sidestep for his second try. He then provided the assist for Marvin O’Connor to go over to right of the posts, opening up a 24-14 advantage. Manoel Dall’igna and Paul Bonnefond also got in on the scoring act, leaving Ireland with plenty to work on ahead of tomorrow’s knockout rounds.

Live streaming of the knockout games on Sunday will be available via www.rugbyeurope.eu/moscow-sevens-grand-prix-2019. The full list of results, fixtures and pools can be viewed here on the Rugby Europe website.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2019 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series – Round 1, Slava Stadium, Moscow, Saturday, June 22-Sunday, June 23):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Jack Daly (Garryowen/Munster)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College)
Adam Leavy (Lansdowne)
Hugo Lennox (Clontarf)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Mark Roche (Blackrock College)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Results/Fixtures – Moscow 7s:

Saturday, June 22 –


Ireland 29 Romania 0, Slava Stadium
Scorers: Tries: Jack Kelly, Ian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Conroy, Shane Daly, Harry McNulty; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
HT: Ireland 12 Romania 0

Team: Adam Leavy, Harry McNulty, Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs: Ian Fitzpatrick, Shane Daly, Greg O’Shea, Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche.

Ireland 26 Italy 14, Slava Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Billy Dardis, Greg O’Shea, Jack Kelly, Hugo Lennox; Cons: Billy Dardis 3
HT: Ireland 19 Italy 0

Team: Adam Leavy, Harry McNulty, Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis (capt), Greg O’Shea, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs: Shane Daly, Hugo Lennox, Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche.

Ireland 14 France 38, Slava Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Billy Dardis; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
HT: Ireland 14 France 12

Team: Shane Daly, Harry McNulty, Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis (capt), Greg O’Shea, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs: Adam Leavy, Hugo Lennox, Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche.

Sunday, June 23 –

CUP QUARTER-FINAL: Spain v Ireland, Slava Stadium, 11.44am local time/9.44am Irish time

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS – European Schedule:

June 22-23: Moscow, Russia – Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series First Leg

July 13-14: Colomiers, France – Rugby Europe Sevens Olympic Qualifying Tournament

July 20-21: Lodz, Poland – Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series Second Leg