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Ireland Under-18s Advance In Zabki As Pool Winners

Ireland Under-18s Advance In Zabki As Pool Winners

Ireland Under-18s Advance In Zabki As Pool Winners

Gene O'Leary Kareem is pictured on the attack during Ireland's pool victory over Ukraine in Zabki ©Polish Rugby Union

The Ireland Under-18 Men’s Sevens team, supported by PwC, got their Rugby Europe U-18 Sevens Championship campaign off to an encouraging start with three opening wins.

Coached by Mike Pettman and Kieran Hurrell, the Ireland youngsters were victorious against Germany (33-0), Spain (21-5) and Ukraine (29-7) to finish top of Pool B.

Their tries were shared out between ten players with PBC Cork’s Gene O’Leary Kareem running in three of them as well as landing nine conversions.

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The Ireland U-18s, captained by Rainey Old Boys lock Mark Lee, will return to the Dolcan Arena tomorrow morning for a Cup quarter-final clash with Germany (kick-off 11.22am local time/10.22am Irish time).

Jake O’Riordan acrobatically kept a German penalty kick in play during the early stages of today’s pool opener. The possession led to an Irish break on the far side as Charlie Griffin got outside two defenders and charged clear to score from halfway.

O’Leary Kareem converted and also added the extras to a sixth-minute try from Ben O’Connor, who used a dummy and a burst of acceleration for a 50-metre run-in.

Ireland led 21-0 at half-time, Lee’s well-won turnover at the breakdown launching them forward and space suddenly opened up for a jinking O’Riordan who had the pace to score from 65 metres out.

Scrum half O’Riordan evaded a tackle and broke clear of the chasing Cedric Eichholz to complete his brace early on the restart. O’Leary Kareem knocked over his fourth successful conversion.

Importantly, there was also game-time for all five Irish replacements. Closing out a 33-0 triumph, Lukas Kenny stepped off his right and darted over from close range for his side’s fifth and final try.

Ireland scored inside the opening seconds against Spain, O’Connor tapping back O’Leary Kareem’s well-placed kick-off and Stephen Kiely, breaking through an initial tackle, rumbled through to send the supporting Lee over in the right corner.

The lead was doubled in the third minute when O’Riordan blocked down a kick, gaining ground before setting up a ruck and O’Leary Kareem picked up possession and exploited a gap outside the Spanish 22 to make it 14-0.

Spain had a late purple patch before the break, almost scoring from a kick through, but it was Ireland who struck again early in the second period.

Tadhg Brophy, Finn Treacy and Lee all ran hard and direct, the latter passing for O’Leary Kareem to cut in off the left wing and gallop over from the edge of the Spanish 22. He also curled over the conversion.

Ireland created further opportunities through strong running from O’Connor and Treacy, but Spain had the final say thanks to a lung-busting try from Gonzalo Otamendi with less than two minutes remaining.

Building on that 21-5 win, Ireland were quickly out of the blocks in their final pool game. Out-half O’Leary Kareem sniped clean through from a ruck and impressively rounded the last defender for an early seven-pointer.

Ukraine kept the tempo high from quick taps and Yevhenii Overchuk took his opportunity to break free off a scrum for a well-taken levelling try, which he converted himself.

The Ukrainians were tough to break down, but Freddie Reader’s pass off the ground and a quick delivery from O’Leary Kareem released Kiely for the corner, giving Ireland a 12-7 interval lead.

Fed by skipper Lee, Reader then showed his pace to romp clear for a try from just outside the Irish 22. The replacements made their mark, Treacy crossing in the left corner via well-timed passes from Jed O’Dwyer and Kenny.

There was still time for O’Dwyer to make it 29-7 in the end, Reader diving on a loose ball and O’Riordan and Ben McFarlane combining to put the Crescent College Comprehensive full-back over in the right corner.

Follow the Championship on the Rugby Europe website here. There is live streaming on www.rugbyeurope.eu.

IRELAND UNDER-18 MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2022 Rugby Europe U-18 Men’s Sevens Championship, Zabki, Poland, July 9-10, 2022):

Lukas Kenny (Campbell College/Ulster)
Ben McFarlane (Methodist College Belfast/Ulster)
Mark Lee (Rainey Old Boys RFC/Ulster) (capt)
Charlie Griffin (Harrow School/IQ Rugby)
Finn Treacy (Presentation College Bray/Leinster)
Jake O’Riordan (St. Munchin’s College/Munster)
Tadhg Brophy (Newbridge College/Leinster)
Gene O’Leary Kareem (PBC Cork/Munster)
Ben O’Connor (PBC Cork/Munster)
Freddie Reader (Stonyhurst College/IQ Rugby)
Stephen Kiely (Castletroy College/Munster)
Jed O’Dwyer (Crescent College Comprehensive/Munster)


Saturday, July 9 –


GERMANY 0 IRELAND 33, Dolcan Arena – Watch Replay
Scorers: Germany: –
Ireland: Tries: Charlie Griffin, Ben O’Connor, Jake O’Riordan 2, Lukas Kenny; Cons: Gene O’Leary Kareem 4
HT: Germany 0 Ireland 21

Team: Mark Lee (capt), Ben McFarlane, Charlie Griffin, Jake O’Riordan, Gene O’Leary Kareem, Ben O’Connor, Stephen Kiely.

Subs used: Finn Treacy, Lukas Kenny, Jed O’Dwyer, Tadhg Brophy, Freddie Reader.

SPAIN 5 IRELAND 21, Dolcan Arena – Watch Replay
Scorers: Spain: Try: Gonzalo Otamendi
Ireland: Tries: Mark Lee, Gene O’Leary Kareem 2; Cons: Gene O’Leary Kareem 3
HT: Spain 0 Ireland 14

Team: Mark Lee (capt), Finn Treacy, Charlie Griffin, Jake O’Riordan, Gene O’Leary Kareem, Ben O’Connor, Stephen Kiely.

Subs used: Tadhg Brophy, Jed O’Dwyer, Lukas Kenny, Freddie Reader, Ben McFarlane.

IRELAND 29 UKRAINE 7, Dolcan Arena – Watch Replay
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Gene O’Leary Kareem, Stephen Kiely, Freddie Reader, Finn Treacy, Jed O’Dwyer; Cons: Gene O’Leary Kareem 2
Ukraine: Try: Yevhenii Overchuk; Con: Yevhenii Overchuk
HT: Ireland 12 Ukraine 7

Team: Mark Lee (capt), Ben McFarlane, Lukas Kenny, Tadhg Brophy, Gene O’Leary Kareem, Freddie Reader, Stephen Kiely.

Subs used: Jake O’Riordan, Charlie Griffin, Finn Treacy, Jed O’Dwyer.

Rugby Europe U-18 Men’s Sevens Championship – Zabki 7s Fixtures/Results

Rugby Europe U-18 Men’s Sevens Championship – Zabki 7s Pool Tables

Sunday, July 10 –


IRELAND v GERMANY, Dolcan Arena, 11.22am local time/10.22am Irish time