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Ireland Men Beat Georgia To Book Seven World Cup Berth

Ireland Men Beat Georgia To Book Seven World Cup Berth

Ireland Men Beat Georgia To Book Seven World Cup Berth

Ireland forward Harry McNulty gains ground during their final Pool A clash with Italy in Bucharest ©INPHO/Stefan Constantin

Tries from Ed Kelly, Terry Kennedy and Bryan Mollen sent the Ireland Men’s Sevens team, sponsored by TritonLake, through to the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in September.

In Pics: Job Done As Ireland Men Claim Sevens World Cup Spot

Ireland qualified for Cape Town after getting the better of a physical Georgia team, winning their play-off 17-12 in the final fixture of the keenly-contested Rugby World Cup Sevens European Qualifier in Bucharest.

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James Topping’s men won all four of their matches, topping Pool A ahead of Italy who were beaten 21-5 despite Ireland having Jordan Conroy sent off in the first minute and Zac Ward also seeing yellow.

22 was the final Irish try tally for the weekend, Kennedy claiming six of those and there were three each from Conroy, Mollen and Harry McNulty.

The other three teams to qualify for the World Cup were Wales, Germany and Portugal, who won the Iberian derby 20-19 to knock out Spain, the recently-crowned European champions.

Topping’s charges suffered a big blow during the opening seconds of the Italy match. Conroy was caught leading with his forearm into a tackle, and referee Ben Breakspear decided it was a red card offence.

However, six-man Ireland regrouped and managed to take the lead when Sean Cribbin used a hand-off to launch a break from deep, laying off for Kennedy to race clear from the halfway line. Captain Billy Dardis converted for a 7-0 scoreline.

The accuracy of Ireland’s passing was causing problems for Italy, particularly on the near right wing. Chay Mullins chipped away at the defence before McNulty shrugged off a tackle and evaded another to score to the right of the posts.

Cribbin was agonisingly close to tagging on a third try, just knocking on a pass back inside following a Kennedy break that almost saw him get away down the blindside.

Into the second half, Italy finally made their numerical advantage count in the 10th minute. Winger Matthias Douglas went over in the left corner to close the gap to 14-5.

Ireland were quick to respond, replacement Mark Roche carrying strongly before Mullins slipped away down the right touchline and popped a nicely-delayed pass back inside for Kennedy to cross the whitewash.

Roche’s conversion put 16 points between the sides, the scoreboard unmoved during the dying minutes despite a yellow for Ward (deliberate knock-on). Italy’s Francesco Cozzi was also binned for lifting legs in a tackle.

Georgia gained the upper hand early on in the winner-takes-all quarter-final, a bout of strong carrying leading to Teimuraz Kokhodze touching down from close range in the third minute.

After Giorgi Babunashvili had turned it into a seven-pointer, Kennedy was whistled up for an unfortunate knock-on. Ireland’s defence had to absorb further pressure before finishing the first half strongly with two tries.

Mollen drove up close, Ireland building phases off a couple of penalties before a good line of passing out to left put eager winger Kelly over in the corner.

McNulty tapped back Dardis’ restart, and the latter switched play back to the left where Kennedy was able to ghost in between two defenders and make it 12-7 at the break.

Georgia got on the front foot again early in the second period, Roche needing to make a try-saving tackle on Giorgi Tchuadze. Yet, the scrum half was promptly sin-binned for playing the ball on the ground.

Six-man Ireland defended smartly and won a penalty, nice footwork from Mullins taking them back up towards halfway. Kennedy was able to charge through on a diagonal run and feed the supporting Mollen for a fine try in the right corner.

Georgia were unable to respond before the final hooter, but did gain a late consolation score when Nikoloz Rekhviashvili held off Roche’s attempted tackle to go over to the right of the posts.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens European Qualifier, Arcul de Triumf Stadium, Bucharest, July 16-17, 2022):

Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)
Matt McDonald (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC) (capt)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Chay Mullins (IQ Rugby)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Aaron O’Sullivan (Ireland Sevens)

RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS EUROPEAN QUALIFIER – RESULTS:

Saturday, July 16 –

POOL A:

IRELAND 73 POLAND 0, Arcul de Triumf Stadium – Watch Replay
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy 3, Sean Cribbin, Aaron O’Sullivan, Bryan Mollen, Zac Ward, Harry McNulty, Terry Kennedy 2, Chay Mullins; Cons: Billy Dardis 5, Mark Roche 2, Hugo Lennox 2
Poland: –
HT: Ireland 33 Poland 0

Team: Bryan Mollen, Matt McDonald, Chay Mullins, Billy Dardis (capt), Sean Cribbin, Aaron O’Sullivan, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Zac Ward, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy.

IRELAND 29 PORTUGAL 0, Arcul de Triumf Stadium – Watch Replay
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Bryan Mollen, Hugo Lennox, Zac Ward, Terry Kennedy, Harry McNulty; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
Portugal: –
HT: Ireland 15 Portugal 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Zac Ward, Bryan Mollen, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Ed Kelly.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Aaron O’Sullivan, Jordan Conroy, Chay Mullins, Sean Cribbin.

Rugby World Cup Sevens European Qualifier – Results/Tables

Day 1 Round-Up: Ireland Men Building For Big Second Day At Sevens World Cup Qualifier

Sunday, July 17 –

POOL A:

IRELAND 21 ITALY 5, Arcul de Triumf Stadium – Watch Replay
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy 2, Harry McNulty; Cons: Billy Dardis 2, Mark Roche
Italy: Try: Matthias Douglas
HT: Ireland 14 Italy 0

Team: Harry McNulty, Matt McDonald, Chay Mullins, Billy Dardis (capt), Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Mark Roche, Zac Ward, Hugo Lennox, Bryan Mollen.

IRELAND 17 GEORGIA 12, Arcul de Triumf Stadium – Watch Replay
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Ed Kelly, Terry Kennedy, Bryan Mollen; Con: Billy Dardis
Georgia: Tries: Teimuraz Kokhodze, Nikoloz Rekhviashvili; Con: Giorgi Babunashvili
HT: Ireland 12 Georgia 7

Team: Harry McNulty, Bryan Mollen, Zac Ward, Sean Cribbin, Billy Dardis (capt), Terry Kennedy, Ed Kelly.

Subs used: Chay Mullins, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Matt McDonald, Aaron O’Sullivan.