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Brilliant Bronze For Ireland Men As McNulty Try Edges Them Past Australia

Brilliant Bronze For Ireland Men As McNulty Try Edges Them Past Australia

Brilliant Bronze For Ireland Men As McNulty Try Edges Them Past Australia

The bronze medal-winning Ireland Men's squad celebrate at the end of a memorable Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign ©INPHO/Travis Prior

The Ireland Men sealed an epic Rugby World Cup Sevens run in some style, winning the Bronze final 19-14 against Australia, the recently-crowned World Series champions, in Cape Town.

In Pics: Bronze Medal Reward For Ireland Men In Cape Town

Topping Eager To Build On World Cup Achievement

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Fittingly, it was one of the ‘Originals’, Harry McNulty, who barged over for a 13th-minute try that split the teams in an absorbing duel that saw Australia lead by seven points on two occasions.

Digging deep and making sure to avoid a second successive defeat, Sean Cribbin scored late in the first half and Terry Kennedy levelled from his own kick through, making it 14-all with three minutes remaining.

It was Kennedy’s instinctive kick pass that kept the move going for McNulty’s match winner, Mark Roche using it to cleverly jink into the 22 and feed McNulty for a muscular finish past Dietrich Roache.

Giving his reaction afterwards, an elated Kennedy said: “Oh my God, it is incredible! We never fail to surprise, every time our backs are against the wall, we stand up.

“It was a tough loss earlier today against New Zealand in the semis, so to come out there and put on that performance was unbelievable.

“Some boys have been here (in the set-up) the whole time, for some this is their first year. It was a huge effort from our forwards, they carried us so well throughout the tournament and thankfully we got a couple of scores at the end.”

The victory has to rank as Irish Sevens Rugby’s best ever achievement, and while their predecessors at the inaugural Sevens World Cup in 1993 also finished third, there was no Bronze final to win back then.

Their level of professionalism and consistency in performance has delivered some excellent results for James Topping’s side in 2022, and their return of four wins-out-of-five in Cape Town completes an incredible season on the road.

Ninth place finishers at the last World Cup in San Francisco and having learned a lot from their Olympic Games experience last year, they are now regularly contesting the business end of global tournaments.

This weekend’s scalps of England, the 2018 silver medallists, hosts South Africa and Australia, fresh from their first ever World Series title, prove just what they are capable of.

Wearing all white, Topping’s charges lost possession twice at successive lineouts – the Australians competing hard in that area – and a scrappy first half was set to be scoreless until Nathan Lawson struck late following a neat switch move.

His converted effort was swiftly followed by Ireland’s opening seven-pointer. With possession retained from a lineout, Chay Mullins drove up into the 22 before Cribbin brilliantly stepped inside Lawson and handed off Stuart Dunbar to score.

The conversion from captain Billy Dardis made it seven points apiece at the break, but a cracking solo try from Corey Toole, who burst clear of three defenders, moved John Manenti’s men back in front.

Andrew Smith led Ireland’s response, breaking downfield and then winning a turnover penalty. Kennedy turned the latter into a peach of a try, showing his class again by stabbing a kick through and outpacing Maurice Longbottom to get the grounding.

Roche made it all-square with the conversion, setting up a grandstand finish with three minutes to go. Ireland also regained possession from the scrum half’s steepling restart, which Bryan Mollen tapped back.

They played through a penalty advantage, Mollen sidestepping in midfield, Smith’s swift pass almost going to ground but Kennedy’s deft football skills suddenly opened up the space on the left wing.

Roche cut inside the retreating Toole and passed to his left where a charging McNulty took contact from Roache and expertly touched down with his right hand, avoiding the touchline to give the TMO a straightforward decision.

The conversion was missed on the near side by Roche, but there was no denying Ireland another famous victory in the Western Cape, with an unfortunate knock-on by Jimmy Turner ending Australia’s hopes.

Ireland’s World Cup bronze medal comes on the back of a best ever overall World Series finish of fifth this year, the highpoint of that campaign being their silver medal success in Toulouse. They were also European Trophy champions in the summer.

The individual accolades bestowed on playmaker Kennedy are further evidence of the star quality in this Irish side. The Dubliner was the leading try scorer in the World Series (50 tries in 52 games) and made the HSBC Dream Team.

The Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams wore their brand new Canterbury kit for the World Cup in Cape Town. Click here to buy the new jerseys online from Intersport Elverys.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, September 9-11, 2022):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC) (capt)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Matt McDonald (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College RFC)
Chay Mullins (IQ Rugby)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)

IRELAND MEN’S RWC Sevens Schedule –

Friday, September 9:

Pre-Round Of 16 –

IRELAND 24 PORTUGAL 0, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Bryan Mollen; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
Portugal: –
HT: Ireland 12 Portugal 0

Match Report: Kennedy: Happy To Get Through Without Conceding

Team: Harry McNulty, Matt McDonald, Jack Kelly Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Chay Mullins.

Subs used: Sean Cribbin, Andrew Smith, Bryan Mollen, Billy Dardis (capt), Jordan Conroy.

Round Of 16 –

ENGLAND 5 IRELAND 17, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: England: Try: Charlton Kerr
Ireland; Tries: Harry McNulty, Mark Roche, Jordan Conroy; Con: Mark Roche
HT: England 0 Ireland 7

Match Report: Ireland Men Overcome England To Reach Quarter-Final Stage

Team: Harry McNulty, Andrew Smith, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Sean Cribbin, Chay Mullins, Matt McDonald, Bryan Mollen.

Saturday, September 10:

Championship Quarter-Final –

IRELAND 24 SOUTH AFRICA 14, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Harry McNulty, Jordan Conroy 2; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
South Africa: Tries: Muller du Plessis, Mfundo Ndhlovu; Cons: Ronald Brown, Selvyn Davids
HT: Ireland 7 South Africa 7

Match Report: Conroy Double Drives Ireland Men To Famous Win Over Hosts

Team: Harry McNulty, Andrew Smith, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Bryan Mollen, Matt McDonald, Chay Mullins.

Sunday, September 11:

Championship Semi-Final –

IRELAND 10 NEW ZEALAND 17, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith
New Zealand: Tries: Ngarohi McGarvey-Black 3; Con: Kurt Baker
HT: Ireland 5 New Zealand 10

Match Report: Ireland Men To Battle For Bronze After Narrow New Zealand Defeat

Team: Harry McNulty, Andrew Smith, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis (capt), Bryan Mollen, Matt McDonald, Chay Mullins.

Championship Bronze Final –

IRELAND 19 AUSTRALIA 14, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Harry McNulty; Cons: Billy Dardis, Mark Roche
Australia: Tries: Nathan Lawson, Corey Toole; Cons: Stuart Dunbar 2
HT: Ireland 7 Australia 7

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

Subs used: Andrew Smith, Jordan Conroy, Mark Roche, Bryan Mollen.