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Ireland Men To Face Croatia In Budapest 7s Quarter-Final

Ireland Men To Face Croatia In Budapest 7s Quarter-Final

Ireland Men To Face Croatia In Budapest 7s Quarter-Final

Ireland's Tom Roche is pictured in possession during the opening day of the Budapest 7s tournament

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team, sponsored by TritonLake, topped their pool for the second week running to set up a Cup quarter-final clash with Croatia at the Budapest 7s.

James Topping’s side put together wins over Bulgaria (38-0), Sweden (57-0) and Israel (33-7) in the baking heat to move a step closer to the overall Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy Series title and promotion back to the Championship for 2023.

Lansdowne winger Sean Galvin, one of two changes to the squad that won last week’s opening leg in Zagreb, marked his Ireland Sevens debut with a try and also had some notable moments in defence.

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Captain Billy Dardis and his team-mates will return to the Budapest Rugby Centre tomorrow morning, with Croatia, the second best of the third-place finishers, their opponents at the quarter-final stage (kick-off 10.30am local time/9.30am Irish time).

Tom Roche snapped up a loose ball to run in the tournament’s opening try after just 40 seconds, but it was a slow-burning first half and Bulgaria forced Ireland on the defensive with a number of penalties.

A couple of well-timed passes from Dardis and Aaron O’Sullivan released Ed Kelly to score out wide from the edge of the Bulgarian 22, making it 12-0 at half-time.

Ireland were much more accurate on the restart, Harry McNulty galloping clear up the right wing after some nice interplay between Tom Roche and the freshly-introduced Galvin.

Chay Mullins also provided impact off the bench, forcing a lineout and then popping up on the opposite wing to send Galvin over to make it 24-0 in the ninth minute.

Mullins won Dardis’ restart and when the ball came back to the left side, Tom Roche used a dummy to nip in between two defenders and complete his brace. Dardis tagged on a third conversion.

Mark Roche provided the assist and conversion for Ireland’s sixth and final try. Matt McDonald had too much pace for Petar Nikolov as he touched down to the right of the posts.

A knock-on over the line denied replacement Sean Cribbin a late score, but Ireland again started strongly in their second round game against Sweden. Mark Roche raided over from a Mullins offload inside the first minute.

Mullins popped the ball up out of a tackle for Fergus Jemphrey to score two minutes later, and Galvin pounced on a loose ball to set up an attack which ended with Mullins getting around two defenders to make it 19-0.

Tom Roche won scrappy ball on the ground and popped up a couple of phases later, using his strength and reach to cross in the left corner. Sweden were pinned in their own 22 and struggling to break out.

Mullins finished the opening half with a fifth Irish score, Tom Roche doing well to juggle possession on the left touchline, release it on the deck and go again before putting the 20-year-old over. Cribbin’s conversion extended the lead to 31-0.

Ireland’s bench kept the tries coming early in the second half, with McDonald stepping inside a defender to get on the scoresheet and Dardis and Sean Kearns also moving the ball to good effect.

Mullins completed his hat-trick by jinking inside one defender and handing off another, before Dardis crossed from his own tap penalty. Kearns landed both conversions to widen the margin to 52 points.

Kelly rushed up to put pressure on a Swedish pass and gobbled up the loose ball to score. Ireland kept the Swedes scoreless late on, their best player Axel Kalling-Smith making ground but they remained out of scoring range.

Ireland quickly went about their business against Israel, with a Kearns tackle forcing a five-metre scrum. He then fed O’Sullivan to go over in the left corner, with Mark Roche adding a well-struck conversion.

Israel created a couple of chances, getting their pacy captain Gal Aviram on the ball, but a superb breakaway effort from Mark Roche – straight from a scrum inside the Irish 22 – saw him double the lead to 14-0.

A second long range score was run in and converted by Kearns, who was set free from halfway by a nicely-timed pass from Jordan Conroy which took out two defenders.

There was still time before the interval for McNulty and McDonald to lead a strong counter-ruck, the turnover ball taken down the short side by Roche who sent Conroy over in the right corner for a 26-0 scoreline.

Ireland struck again in the 10th minute, McNulty using a dummy to break in between two defenders and give Jemphrey a comfortable run-in from the right wing. Dardis converted from close range.

However, a series of yellow cards against Ireland invited Israel forward and with Cribbin in the sin bin, a flat pass released Aviram for a well-taken seven-pointer from just inside his own half.

The Israelis ended the game on the front foot – Dardis saw yellow for lifting a player above the horizontal and Cribbin quickly followed him for not being back ten metres – but Galvin produced a try-saving tackle on Aviram right at the death.

All matches are live on Rugby Europe TV here.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2022 Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy Series – Leg 2, Budapest, June 18-19, 2022):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC) (capt)
Sean Galvin (Lansdowne FC)
Fergus Jemphrey (Blackheath RFC/IQ Rugby)
Sean Kearns (Ireland Sevens)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Matt McDonald (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (IQ Rugby)
Aaron O’Sullivan (Blackrock College RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Tom Roche (Lansdowne FC)


Saturday, June 18 –


IRELAND 38 BULGARIA 0, Budapest Rugby Centre
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Tom Roche 2, Ed Kelly, Harry McNulty, Sean Galvin, Matt McDonald; Cons: Billy Dardis 3, Mark Roche
Bulgaria: –
HT: Ireland 12 Bulgaria 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Tom Roche, Matt McDonald, Billy Dardis (capt), Sean Kearns, Ed Kelly, Aaron O’Sullivan.

Subs used: Chay Mullins, Sean Galvin, Fergus Jemphrey, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin.

IRELAND 57 SWEDEN 0, Budapest Rugby Centre
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Fergus Jemphrey, Chay Mullins 3, Tom Roche, Matt McDonald, Billy Dardis, Ed Kelly; Cons: Sean Cribbin 3, Mark Roche, Sean Kearns 2
Sweden: –
HT: Ireland 31 Sweden 0

Team: Fergus Jemphrey, Tom Roche, Chay Mullins, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Ed Kelly, Sean Galvin.

Subs used: Jordan Conroy, Matt McDonald, Sean Kearns, Billy Dardis (capt), Ed Kelly.

IRELAND 33 ISRAEL 7, Budapest Rugby Centre
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Aaron O’Sullivan, Mark Roche, Sean Kearns, Jordan Conroy, Fergus Jemphrey; Cons: Mark Roche 2, Sean Kearns, Billy Dardis
Israel: Try: Gal Aviram; Con: Vitalii Pryimak
HT: Ireland 26 Israel 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Fergus Jemphrey, Matt McDonald, Mark Roche, Sean Kearns, Aaron O’Sullivan, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Sean Cribbin, Billy Dardis (capt), Chay Mullins, Ed Kelly, Sean Galvin.

Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy Series – Budapest 7s Fixtures/Results

Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy Series – Budapest 7s Pool Tables

Sunday, June 19 –


IRELAND v CROATIA, Budapest Rugby Centre, 10.30am local time/9.30am Irish time