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Ireland Men Finish Third In Colomiers To Book Repechage Berth

Ireland Men Finish Third In Colomiers To Book Repechage Berth

Buccaneers clubman Jordan Conroy scored nine tries across the two days of the Rugby Europe Olympic qualifying tournament in Colomiers ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team claimed another podium finish, keeping alive their Tokyo 2020 hopes in the process as they won bronze at the Rugby Europe Olympic qualifier in sunny Colomiers.

Ireland recovered from a gut-wrenching 19-12 semi-final defeat to hosts France, with a second half brace from the excellent Harry McNulty helping them to see off Portugal 26-12 in the Bronze final. That was a crucial result as only the second and third-placed teams stayed in the hunt for an Olympic berth.

England secured automatic qualification thanks to a Dan Norton-inspired 31-7 final victory over the French, who will be joined by Ireland at next summer’s World Rugby Repechage where only the champions advance to Tokyo. The other confirmed Repechage sides so far are Brazil, Chile, Jamaica and Mexico, with six more to be involved.

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While the current season wraps up next weekend with the final leg of the European Grand Prix Series in Lodz, the Ireland squad have their much-anticipated debut as a World Series core team to look forward to in 2019/20. A full season at the top tier of the game should be ideal preparation for the final Olympic Repechage event.

Facing Germany in the morning quarter-finals, Foster Horan’s tackling and counter-rucking helped the Pool B runners-up to thwart an early German breakout, and Jordan Conroy and Terry Kennedy soon did likewise. Conroy scored from his first real opportunity, outstripping one defender and expertly cutting inside another to open the scoring in the fifth minute.

Hugo Keenan’s claiming of a bobbling restart led to further Irish pressure and a 14-0 interval lead, as McNulty crashed over from Billy Dardis’ inviting pass following a powerful burst by Horan. Dardis also provided the assist for Kennedy’s ninth-minute try, sidestepping past halfway before sending the St. Mary’s College clubman on his way to seal a 21-0 triumph.

Ireland’s resilient defence – minus the injured Keenan – prevented the Germans from responding, and it was thoroughly tested during a super-charged semi-final against France. Kennedy lacked support during a promising early raid, but the deadlock was broken by Greg O’Shea in the fifth minute when he twice hacked through a loose French pass and won the race to the touchdown.

Roared on by the partisan home crowd, les Bleus showed their class as they bit back to lead 12-7 at half-time. The fast-breaking Jean-Pascal Barraque converted his own try and then Jonathan Laugel bumped off a tackle and sent the supporting Terry Bouhraoua over in the left corner.

Ireland reeled the hosts back in and were level within a minute of the restart, a leaping Conroy dislodging possession from Sacha Valleau before it was swung wide for Ian Fitzpatrick to finish in the opposite corner. The latter had a sniff of a second try soon after but he was hauled down five metres short.

Fitzpatrick and Conroy unfortunately collided together when tackling Barraque, who got his pass away for Bouhraoua to scamper clear and move France back in front with just under three minutes remaining. Despite getting the ball wide on a couple of occasions, danger man Conroy was crowded out and some strong French defence saw out the result.

That left Ireland playing for the second available European spot at next year’s Repechage tournament. Victory in the Bronze final would guarantee their progress, but Portugal had ended Spain’s hopes in the last-eight and Duarte Moreira’s muscular first-minute try shot them ahead.

Anthony Eddy’s charges had a couple of misfires in attack before O’Shea and Kennedy combined to put Conroy over for his ninth tournament try. Level at the break at five points apiece, Ireland found an extra gear on the restart with McNulty cleverly releasing Fitzpatrick up the right wing to send the Portuguese back-pedalling.

Replacement Jack Kelly ran hard at the defence and shrugged off two tackles, with support from Conroy, to notch a key seven-pointer. Ireland were well out of reach after McNulty’s deserved double, the dynamic forward twice using his hand-off to good effect. Aderito Esteves replied with a late consolation score.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2019 Rugby Europe Olympic Men’s Sevens Qualifier, Stade Michel Bendichou, Colomiers, France, Saturday, July 13-Sunday, July 14):

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

2019 RUGBY EUROPE OLYMPIC MEN’S SEVENS QUALIFIER:

POOL A – France, Portugal, Italy, Hungary

POOL B – IRELAND, Spain, Russia, Ukraine

POOL C – England, Germany, Georgia, Lithuania

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Results –

Saturday, July 13 –

POOL B:

Ireland 41 Ukraine 0, Stade Michel Bendichou
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy 2, Billy Dardis, Terry Kennedy, Foster Horan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Greg O’Shea; Cons: Billy Dardis 2, Mark Roche
HT: Ireland 29 Ukraine 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Foster Horan, Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs: Ian Fitzpatrick, Adam Leavy, Bryan Mollen, Greg O’Shea, Mark Roche.

Ireland 52 Russia 14, Stade Michel Bendichou
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jack Kelly 2, Jordan Conroy 4, Hugo Keenan, Adam Leavy; Cons: Billy Dardis 5, Mark Roche
HT: Ireland 33 Russia 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Foster Horan, Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs: Ian Fitzpatrick, Adam Leavy, Bryan Mollen, Greg O’Shea, Mark Roche.

Ireland 17 Spain 17, Stade Michel Bendichou
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Billy Dardis, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy; Con: Billy Dardis
HT: Ireland 0 Spain 17

Team: Harry McNulty, Foster Horan, Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs: Ian Fitzpatrick, Adam Leavy, Bryan Mollen, Greg O’Shea, Mark Roche.

Day 1 Round-Up – Ireland Men To Play Germany In Colomiers Quarter-Final

Sunday, July 14 –

CUP QUARTER-FINAL: Ireland 21 Germany 0, Stade Michel Bendichou
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Harry McNulty, Terry Kennedy; Cons: Billy Dardis 3
HT: Ireland 14 Germany 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Foster Horan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs: Jack Kelly, Adam Leavy, Bryan Mollen, Greg O’Shea, Mark Roche.

CUP SEMI-FINAL: France 19 Ireland 12, Stade Michel Bendichou
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Greg O’Shea, Ian Fitzpatrick; Con: Billy Dardis
HT: France 12 Ireland 7

Team: Harry McNulty, Foster Horan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Billy Dardis (capt), Greg O’Shea, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs: Jack Kelly, Adam Leavy, Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche.

BRONZE FINAL: Ireland 26 Portugal 12, Stade Michel Bendichou
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Jack Kelly, Harry McNulty 2; Cons: Billy Dardis, Mark Roche 2
HT: Ireland 5 Portugal 5

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

Subs: Jack Kelly, Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche.

Click here to view the final pool tables, results and overall rankings.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS – European Schedule:

June 22-23: Moscow, Russia – Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series First Leg (2nd Place/18 Points)

July 13-14: Colomiers, France – Rugby Europe Sevens Olympic Qualifying Tournament (3rd Place/Repechage Qualifiers)

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