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Seventh Place Finish For Ireland Men In Malaga

Seventh Place Finish For Ireland Men In Malaga

Andrew Smith is pictured in possession during Ireland's 5th place semi-final against France in Malaga ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

Although their tournament was ended by a play-off defeat to France, it was a mostly positive weekend for the Ireland Men’s Sevens team at the Malaga leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

In Pics: Australian Scalp The Highlight For Ireland Men In Malaga

Ireland picked up 10 ranking points for a seventh place finish, moving them into sixth in the overall World Series standings ahead of next week’s event in Seville.

Apart from the elder statesman Mark Roche, the squad that competed in Malaga had an average age of just 22. There were World Series debuts for Roche’s younger brother, Tom, and 6ft 6in winger Tamilore Awonusi.

Claiming the scalp of Australia and topping the pool was the highlight, while the talismanic Terry Kennedy continues to top the World Series try-scoring charts, scoring five tries this weekend to take his season’s haul to 21.

After a disappointing quarter-final loss to Argentina, Ireland regrouped for the final day and a 5th place semi-final against familiar opposition in France.

They lost Conor Phillips to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on, the Munster Academy flyer returning to the pitch with Ireland trailing 5-0 after a Jordan Sepho try out wide.

France doubled their lead after the half-time hooter, a couple of tight breakdown calls going their way before they used turnover ball to send Varian Pasquet over in the left corner.

Ireland made immediate improvements on the resumption, Zac Ward, who had a very good tournament, broke down the left wing and offloaded neatly for Kennedy to finish off in the corner.

Mark Roche was narrowly wide with the conversion, but Ireland were level by the 10th minute, Kennedy tapping a penalty and stepping around William Iraguha to score out wide again.

Niall Comerford typified Ireland’s work-rate, particularly in defence, as they got back into contention, only for France to lift their game again with impact off the bench.

Pasquet’s between-the-legs pass set up Joachim Trouabal for the lead score, before Aaron Grandidier sealed a 20-10 success after Ireland lost last-minute possession off a scrum.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC Spain Sevens, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga, Malaga, January 2022):

Tamilore Awonusi (IQ Rugby)
Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Sean Kearns (Ireland Sevens)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC) (capt)
Chay Mullins (Bristol Bears/IQ Rugby)
Conor Phillips (Young Munster/Munster)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Tom Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES – SPAIN SEVENS RESULTS:

Friday, January 21 –

POOL B:

IRELAND 33 JAPAN 14, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche, Terry Kennedy 2, Niall Comerford; Cons: Sean Kearns 2, Mark Roche 2
Japan: Tries: Taiga Ishida, Kazuma Nakagawa; Cons: Taiga Ishida
HT: Ireland 14 Japan 14

Team: Bryan Mollen (capt), Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche, Ed Kelly, Sean Kearns.

Subs used: Zac Ward, Sean Cribbin, Conor Phillips, Niall Comerford. Not used: Tamilore Awonusi.

IRELAND 24 GERMANY 7, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Andrew Smith, Terry Kennedy, Jack Kelly, Sean Cribbin; Cons: Mark Roche 2
Germany: Try: Fabian Heimpel; Con: Fabian Heimpel
HT: Ireland 7 Germany 7

Team: Bryan Mollen (capt), Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche, Conor Phillips.

Subs used: Niall Comerford, Tom Roche, Sean Kearns, Tamilore Awonusi. Not used: Ed Kelly.

Day 1 Round-Up: Two Opening Wins For Ireland Men At Malaga Sevens

Saturday, January 22 –

POOL B:

AUSTRALIA 5 IRELAND 10, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga
Scorers: Australia: Try: Maurice Longbottom
Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Zac Ward
HT: Australia 5 Ireland 5

Team: Bryan Mollen (capt), Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche, Conor Phillips.

Subs used: Ed Kelly, Niall Comerford, Tom Roche, Zac Ward. Not used: Sean Kearns.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Results

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Pool Tables

CUP QUARTER-FINAL:

IRELAND 5 ARGENTINA 29, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Conor Phillips
Argentina: Tries: Marcos Moneta 2, Luciano Gonzalez 2, German Sculz; Cons: Felipe del Mestre, Joaquin Lamas
HT: Ireland 0 Argentina 17

Team: Bryan Mollen (capt), Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche, Conor Phillips.

Subs used: Zac Ward, Tom Roche, Niall Comerford, Sean Kearns, Tamilore Awonusi.

Day 2 Round-Up: Argentina End Ireland Men’s Cup Hopes In Malaga

Sunday, January 23 –

5TH PLACE SEMI-FINAL:

FRANCE 20 IRELAND 10, Estadio Ciudad de Malaga
Scorers: France: Tries: Jordan Sepho, Varian Pasquet, Joachim Trouabal, Aaron Grandidier
Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy 2
HT: France 10 Ireland 10

Team: Bryan Mollen (capt), Zac Ward, Andrew Smith, Terry Kennedy, Mark Roche, Conor Phillips, Niall Comerford.

Subs used: Sean Cribbin, Tamilore Awonusi, Sean Kearns, Jack Kelly, Tom Roche.