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Ireland Women’s Winning Run Continues in Seville

Ireland Women’s Winning Run Continues in Seville

Lucy Mulhall looks on as Kate Farrell McCabe bursts clear to score Ireland's match-winning try against Russia in the Pool B decider ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

The Ireland Women’s rich vein of form continued in Seville today as they reached only their second Cup semi-final in HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series history.

Kate Farrell McCabe’s last-minute try saw them defeat a highly-rated Russia 21-14, and an excellent hat-trick from Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe inspired a 36-5 quarter-final victory over Canada.

Aiden McNulty’s side will return to Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla to face old rivals England in a mouth-watering semi-final tomorrow (kick-off 3.22pm local time/2.22pm Irish time).

Led superbly well by Lucy Mulhall, Ireland topped their pool for only the second time in the World Series, after their landmark performance at Sydney in early 2019.

Mulhall and her team-mates are hoping to better that fourth place finish from three years ago. They are playing with plenty of confidence as they look to build on only their second win in 14 quarter-final appearances.

Russia, the silver medallists in Malaga last week, stood between Ireland and first place in Pool B, and it took just 46 seconds for the girls in green to signal their intent.

They quickly got into their running, Mulhall doing really well to hold onto an offload from Béibhinn Parsons who then released Eve Higgins to cruise home from 40 metres out. The conversion followed from Mulhall.

Russia were held at arm’s length until late on in the first half, as Asiiat Alieva’s sidestepping opened up an opportunity on the left and Alena Tiron was released for the levelling try before half-time.

A breakaway score from Viktoriia Em gave Russia the lead on the resumption, but Higgins soon straightened up an Irish attack from deep, Stacey Flood dangling a kick through for Murphy Crowe to chase.

The Tipperary speedster was first to the ball, under pressure from Elena Zdrokova, and then used the momentum of two inrushing defenders, pinballing her way through to score behind the posts.

Mulhall’s conversion tied things up at 14-all, setting up a grandstand finish. The sides swapped turnover penalties as the clock ticked down to the last couple of minutes.

Ireland’s defensive grit was summed by Higgins’ big tackle on Baizat Khamidova, who unfortunately had to be stretchered off, and Murphy Crowe’s tracking back to deny Zdrokova a try.

Instead, it was Ireland who claimed their fifth victory in 14 World Series meetings with Russia. Mulhall and Murphy Crowe both carried well off a last-minute scrum, the latter’s offload releasing Farrell McCabe from halfway.

The Suttonians starlet had the legs to stay clear of the chasers, Mulhall’s conversion the final act as McNulty’s charges advanced as pool winners.

Lining up against Canada in the last-eight, Ireland managed to repeat their fast start from the morning session. 30 seconds in, Higgins touched down after Parsons had tidied up a loose ball and set Mulhall darting down the right wing.

Mulhall, who was able to offload back inside for Higgins, converted and her direct running was a feature in the build-up to a Murphy Crowe try, midway through the opening half.

Ireland took advantage of Chloe Daniels’ sin-binning for a deliberate knock-on, Flood flinging the ball wide for Murphy Crowe to finish and make it 12-0.

Upping the gears, Higgins’ well-won turnover penalty was tapped by Murphy Crowe who tied in a defender and sent Mulhall over for the edge of the Canadian 22.

Canada put boot to ball to stretch the Irish defence, but a hack through was gobbled up by Murphy Crowe, wide on the right, and she accelerated in between two players for a late unconverted try.

Armed with a 22-0 half-time advantage, Ireland pressed on with Murphy Crowe drawing in two defenders and offloading for Higgins to go over in the left corner.

Mulhall converted from a tight angle and even though Elissa Alarie pulled a try back for Canada, Ireland topped off an impressive performance with an terrific team score down the left wing.

Replacement Kathy Baker made the initial break up over halfway, Mulhall was up in support, and neat offloads from Parsons and Katie Heffernan put Murphy Crowe away to complete her hat-trick.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC Spain Sevens, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla, Seville, January 2022):

Kathy Baker (Blackrock College RFC)
Claire Boles (Railway Union RFC)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar RFC/Railway Union RFC)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC)
Brittany Hogan (Ballynahinch RFC/Old Belvedere RFC)
Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC)
Emily Lane (Blackrock College RFC)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum RFC) (capt)
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC)
Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC)

HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES – SPAIN SEVENS FIXTURES/RESULTS:

Friday, January 28 –

POOL B:

IRELAND 14 POLAND 10, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 2; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2
Germany: Tries: Anna Klichowska, Tamara Czumer
HT: Ireland 7 Poland 5

Team: Stacey Flood, Brittany Hogan, Béibhinn Parsons, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Emily Lane.

Subs used: Erin King, Kathy Baker, Kate Farrell McCabe, Claire Boles. Not used: Katie Heffernan.

IRELAND 29 BRAZIL 12, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Stacey Flood, Béibhinn Parsons, Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Lucy Mulhall; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 2
Brazil: Tries: Raquel Kochhann, Bianca Silva; Con: Raquel Kochhann
HT: Ireland 17 Brazil 12

Team: Stacey Flood, Brittany Hogan, Béibhinn Parsons, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Emily Lane.

Subs used: Erin King, Kathy Baker, Kate Farrell McCabe, Claire Boles. Not used: Katie Heffernan.

Saturday, January 29 –

POOL B:

RUSSIA 14 IRELAND 21, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: Russia: Tries: Alena Tiron, Viktoriia Em; Cons: Kristina Seredina 2
Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Kate Farrell McCabe; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 3
HT: Russia 7 Ireland 7

Team: Stacey Flood, Béibhinn Parsons, Erin King, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Emily Lane.

Subs used: Claire Boles, Katie Heffernan, Kate Farrell McCabe. Not used: Anna McGann, Brittany Hogan.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Fixtures/Results

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series – Spain Sevens Pool Tables

CUP QUARTER-FINAL:

IRELAND 36 CANADA 12, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins 2, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 3, Lucy Mulhall; Cons: Lucy Mulhall 3
Canada: Tries: Elissa Alarie, Olivia Apps; Con: Olivia Apps
HT: Ireland 22 Canada 0

Team: Stacey Flood, Béibhinn Parsons, Erin King, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Lucy Mulhall (capt), Eve Higgins, Emily Lane.

Subs used: Claire Boles, Katie Heffernan, Kate Farrell McCabe, Anna McGann, Kathy Baker.

Saturday, January 30 –

CUP SEMI-FINAL:

IRELAND v ENGLAND, Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla, 3.22pm local time/2.22pm Irish time