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Ireland Men Begin Hong Kong Sevens With Four-Try Win

Ireland Men Begin Hong Kong Sevens With Four-Try Win

Ireland Men Begin Hong Kong Sevens With Four-Try Win

Jack Kelly burst clear from Ireland's 22 to score their fourth and final try against Kenya in their opening game at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens ©INPHO/Jayne Russell

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) kicked off the new HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season with a 28-12 win over a physical Kenya side at Hong Kong Stadium today.

Returning to the scene of their qualification for the World Series as a core team in 2019, James Topping’s men made a winning start to the tournament thanks to closing tries from Jordan Conroy and Jack Kelly.

Niall Comerford and Conroy had touched down during the first half, making it 14-5 at the break before Kenya hit back with Billy Odhiambo’s second score to leave just two points in it.

However, a strong finish to the game sets Ireland up nicely for two crunch day two duels with Canada and Argentina which will decide the pecking order in Pool D.

The recent Rugby World Cup Sevens bronze medallists were playing catch-up early on, Kenya pressing from two penalties before Kevin Wekesa released Odhiambo to score to the left of the posts in the second minute.

Ireland were patient in possession from the restart, Conroy cutting through into the Kenyan 22 before Aaron O’Sullivan, Harry McNulty and Mark Roche combined to send Comerford over in the left corner.

After Roche converted superbly from the touchline, his younger brother Tom’s tackle and turnover penalty launched Ireland forward past the half-time.

Kenya responded with a penalty of their own, but a dropped pass and loose kick was punished when Conroy scooped up possession, ran infield and burned through a gap to score under the posts.

The penalty count against Ireland rose to seven before they worked some space on the right for Odhiambo to complete his brace from close range. The Irish lead was down to two – 14-12 – with just over three minutes remaining.

A scrum won against the head provided the platform for Conroy, coming infield again, to fix the defence with his quick feet. He then took off, scything in between Odhiambo and Nelson Oyoo to raid over from 40 metres out.

Captain Billy Dardis converted from straight in front and also added the extras to Kelly’s brilliant lung-busting effort. He evaded two tackles to charge out of the Irish 22 and stay clear of the chasing Anthony Omondi.

Topping’s charges will wrap up the pool stages tomorrow (Saturday) against Canada (3am Irish time) and fourth seeds Argentina (7.10am). You can watch all the World Series action live on the World Rugby website.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Hong Kong Stadium, November 4-6, 2022):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC) (capt)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC)
Dylan O’Grady (UCD RFC)
Aaron O’Sullivan (UCD RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Tom Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND SEVENS Schedule – Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens:

Friday, November 4 –


IRELAND 28 KENYA 12, Hong Kong Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Niall Comerford, Jordan Conroy 2, Jack Kelly; Cons: Mark Roche 2, Billy Dardis 2
Kenya Tries: Billy Odhiambo 2; Con: Anthony Omondi
HT: Ireland 14 Kenya 5

Team: Harry McNulty, Aaron O’Sullivan, Tom Roche, Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Niall Comerford, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Jack Kelly, Ed Kelly, Billy Dardis (capt), Sean Cribbin, Zac Ward.

Saturday, November 5 –


IRELAND v CANADA, Hong Kong Stadium, 11am local time/3am Irish time

ARGENTINA v IRELAND, Hong Kong Stadium, 3.10pm local time/7.10am Irish time

Sunday, November 6 –