A hard-fought victory over USA, spearheaded by tries from Jordan Conroy and Terry Kennedy, was the highlight for Ireland Men as they made a long-awaited return to action at the International Rugby 7s on Saturday.
Anthony Eddy‘s side stepped up their preparations for June’s World Rugby Sevens Repechage in Monaco with two valuable hit-outs on the opening day at St George’s Park, with the 12-10 victory over Mike Friday‘s USA outfit following a narrow 12-7 defeat to hosts Great Britain.
It was an encouraging return to action for Ireland 15 months on from their last international exposure at the Vancouver leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in March 2020, with Conroy – the top try scorer on last year’s circuit – and Kennedy once again to the fore.
In the day’s opening game, Ireland exchanged blows with GB in difficult conditions at St George’s Park but Kennedy’s second half try, converted by captain Billy Dardis, wasn’t enough to reel in the home side, who had opened up a 12-0 advantage at the break through Tom Bowen and Harry Glover.
Ireland came flying out of the blocks in their second outing of the campaign, with Kennedy and Conroy linking up to release the latter for the corner inside the opening exchanges against USA.
🤩 𝗞𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗱𝘆 𝘅 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗿𝗼𝘆 ⚡️
It didn't take long, but they're back! Kennedy and Conroy combined to give #IreM7s the early lead against USA as Anthony Eddy's side claimed a 12-10 victory 👊#ShoulderToShoulder #Ireland7s pic.twitter.com/enmkNlBByI
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) May 15, 2021
Friday’s side rebounded strongly to level things up at 5-5 at the break, but a superb move involving Ian Fitzpatrick and Gavin Mullin produced the opening for Kennedy to dive over for his second try of the tournament, with Dardis adding the extras from the touchline.
USA struck at the death after a sustained period of pressure but the conversion attempt hit the post and Eddy’s side claimed an impressive two-point victory at the FA’s National Training Centre.
It was also encouraging to see the likes of Munster Academy trio Jack Crowley, Alex Kendellen and Conor Phillips make their first appearances for Ireland Sevens, while Ulster’s Ben Moxham, Aaron Sexton and Jude Postlethwaite also featured throughout Day 1.
Ireland continue their International Rugby 7s campaign on Sunday morning with a second match-up against USA (10am), before facing GB at 4pm.
International Rugby 7s Results Schedule:
Saturday 15th May:
- Ireland 7-12 Great Britain
- Ireland 12-10 USA
- Great Britain 33-12 USA
Sunday 16th May:
- Ireland v USA, 10am
- Great Britain v USA, 1pm
- Great Britain v Ireland, 4pm
Monday 17th May:
- Ireland v USA, 10am
- Great Britain v Ireland, 1pm
- Great Britain v USA, 4pm
Ireland Men’s Sevens Squad For International Rugby 7s:
Alex Kendellen (UCC/Munster)
Aaron O’Sullivan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Gavin Mullin (UCD)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne)
Jude Postlethwaite (Banbridge/Ulster)
Conor Phillips (Young Munster/Munster)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College)(Captain)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries)
Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ben Moxham (Ballymena/Ulster)
Terry Kennedy (St Mary’s College)
Rory Scholes (Irish Sevens)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Duran Krummeck (Irish Sevens)
Aaron Sexton (Malone/Ulster).