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Ireland Men Maintain Winning Form To Top Hong Kong Pool

Ireland Men Maintain Winning Form To Top Hong Kong Pool

Ireland Men Maintain Winning Form To Top Hong Kong Pool

21-year-old flyer Ed Kelly breaks clear of Santiago Vera Feld to score Ireland's match-winning try against Argentina in Hong Kong ©INPHO/Isaac Lawrence

Late tries from Harry McNulty and Ed Kelly in successive games ensured the Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) finished top of Pool D at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

McNulty thundered over to give Ireland a hard-fought 19-17 victory over Canada, and they made it three wins out of three when Kelly romped clear to decide a titanic tussles with fourth seeds Argentina.

James Topping’s men beat lost Pumas 21-17 to advance to tomorrow’s Cup quarter-finals where they will face Argentina, the runners-up in Pool A, at 12.15pm local time/4.15am Irish time.

It was an encouraging second day for Ireland who followed up on yesterday’s 28-12 win over Kenya. Jordan Conroy crossed for his third try of the tournament and Under-20 Grand Slam winner Dylan O’Grady made his Ireland Sevens debut.

Defences were on top for much of the first half between Ireland and Canada, who had started the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series opener on a low note with a 36-point loss to Argentina.

The Canadians built momentum to take a fifth-minute lead, the powerful Matt Oworu flooring Mark Roche with a big hand-off before some sharp handling got the ball out for David Richard to score in the left corner.

Ireland’s attacking opportunities were limited but after some good covering by Conroy, Zac Ward stepped inside Oworu and fended off Phil Berna to break clear from halfway for a fine solo score, converted by Roche.

Trailing 7-5 at the break, Canada hit back within seconds of the restart, Brock Webster did well to feed Anton Ngongo out wide and he shrugged off Sean Cribbin to squeeze over by the left corner flag.

In response, Aaron O’Sullivan drove Ireland back up to halfway with a strong carry. The ball was transferred out to the right where Conroy got away from Ngongo and Webster to give the men in green a 14-10 lead.

The tit-for-tat continued midway through the second half when Thomas Isherwood offloaded out of a tackle for replacement Alex Russell to crash over for a seven-pointer.

However, Ireland held their nerve, McNulty spotting his opportunity to break from a ruck just inside the Irish half and he had the pace and power to avoid Webster’s attempted tackle on the way to the try-line.

UCD youngster O’Grady (20) was sprung from the bench for his World Series bow, and he helped the Irish defence to keep Canada at arm’s length and force a result-sealing knock-on on halfway.

O’Grady started the final pool game against los Pumas, who fell behind after just seven seconds. Jack Kelly flicked Billy Dardis’ kick-off into the path of Hugo Lennox who neatly dummied past Gaston Revol to dart in under the posts.

A Kelly turnover, coupled with a penalty against Tomas Lizazu, had Ireland attacking again in the fifth minute and McNulty capitalised on a missed tackle from Revol to gallop clear and score from halfway. Captain Dardis’ conversion made it 14-0.

However, a late two-try spurt from Argentina saw them close the gap to just two points at the turnaround. The long-striding Lizazu bagged a brace of tries, with Marcos Moneta providing the assists with short and long passes.

Moneta continued to make the Argentinian attack tick on the restart. Tom Roche dug out a hard-earned turnover, but the try eventually came when Moneta’s bouncing pass put Rodrigo Isgro over out wide.

Nonetheless, Ireland stung them straight from the restart, Matias Ozadchuk’s tapping it back but the ball went loose and Kelly swooped on it. He coolly cut inside Alejo Lavajen and accelerate clear of Santiago Vera Feld for a terrific individual try.

With the conversion dispatched by Mark Roche to open up a four-point lead, Topping’s side still had to survive a frantic finish. Ward did well to flick back the restart, and a further turnover won by scrum half Roche proved vital in seeing out the result.

You can watch all the World Series action live on the World Rugby website, with updates and news from Hong Kong on IrishRugby.ie.

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

Match Report: Ireland Men Begin Hong Kong Sevens With Four-Try Win

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 19 CANADA 17, Hong Kong Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Zac Ward, Jordan Conroy, Harry McNulty; Cons: Mark Roche 2
Canada: Tries: David Richard, Anton Ngongo, Alex Russell; Con: Brock Webster
HT: Ireland 7 Canada 5

Team: Harry McNulty, Aaron O’Sullivan, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Ed Kelly, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis (capt), Tom Roche, Niall Comerford, Dylan O’Grady.

ARGENTINA 17 IRELAND 21, Hong Kong Stadium
Scorers: Argentina: Tries: Tomas Lizazu 2, Rodrigo Isgro; Con: Tobias Wade
Ireland: Tries: Hugo Lennox, Harry McNulty, Ed Kelly; Cons: Billy Dardis 2, Mark Roche
HT: Argentina 12 Ireland 14

Team: Harry McNulty, Jack Kelly, Tom Roche, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Lennox, Niall Comerford, Dylan O’Grady.

Subs used: Aaron O’Sullivan, Jordan Conroy, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Ed Kelly.

Sunday, November 6 –


IRELAND v AUSTRALIA, Hong Kong Stadium, 12.15pm local time/4.15am Irish time