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Mixed Results For Ireland Men In Cape Town Play-Offs

Mixed Results For Ireland Men In Cape Town Play-Offs

Mixed Results For Ireland Men In Cape Town Play-Offs

Jordan Conroy ran in a hat-trick against Kenya to take his World Series career haul to 85 tries ©INPHO/Christiaan Kotze

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) ended their HSBC Cape Town Sevens campaign with a 9th place semi-final loss at the hands of France, going down by three tries to two.

In a topsy-turvy tournament, Ireland were the only team to beat Samoa who went on to win their first World Series title since 2016, while there was plenty of movement in the overall standings.

Jordan Conroy’s hat-trick try in extra-time steered James Topping’s men past an abrasive Kenya team on a 19-14 scoreline, before they were unable to reel in a fast-starting France in a 19-12 defeat.

Picking up five points in the Mother City, Ireland have fallen from fourth place to ninth in the table (34 points). There is only a 10-point gap to New Zealand, in third, and the USA, who occupy the last of the four automatic Olympic qualification spots.

Topping’s charges will be aiming to climb back up the rankings when the World Series resumes in the New Year, with back-to-back legs in Hamilton (January 21-22) and Sydney (January 27-29).

Having missed out on a Cup quarter-final place for the first time since Vancouver last April, captain Harry McNulty and his team-mates regrouped to compete for a highest possible finish of ninth. Kenya were their early morning opponents.

Winless but competitive throughout the pool stages, Kenya grabbed an early lead when Edmund Anya’s show-and-go took him over to the right of the posts. The conversion was supplied by Anthony Omondi.

Daniel Taabu then showed a clean pair of heels to both Conroy and Mark Roche, his weaving run from halfway moving the Shujaa into a 14-0 lead before Ireland could really make any mark on the game.

They got their attack going early in the second half, replacement Jack Kelly bringing them up into the Kenyan 22 before Conroy slipped out of a tackle from Omondi to dash in behind the posts.

After Chay Mullins bundled Denis Abukuse into touch, Conroy was fed twice on the left wing, the second time a lovely flat pass from Hugo Lennox sent him accelerating away from two defenders for a try, which Lennox added to with the levelling conversion.

Extra-time was called for after Johnstone Olindi sent a kickable penalty wide right at the death, setting up a golden point scenario.

Strong running from the Kelly brothers, Jack and Ed, and Andrew Smith pushed Kenya back into their own half and Anya’s deliberate knock-on landed him in the sin bin.

The east African side were down to five men soon after, Kevin Wekesa’s high tackle on Ed Kelly prompting his dismissal. The Dublin University clubman was able to continue after some treatment.

Conroy got the job done for Ireland off the resulting scrum, Ed Kelly releasing him from 40 metres out to complete his hat-trick in the right corner.

Referee Adam Leal’s view that the ball was out of Irish ruck allowed Aaron Grandidier to pounce on it for a first-minute French try, which went unconverted.

Smith went the direct route to take Ireland up into the opposition 22 for the first time, France responding with a penalty-winning counter ruck before Jack Kelly got his hands on the ball at a fourth-minute breakdown.

A jinking Rayan Rebbadj exploited a defensive gap for a sixth-minute try for les Bleus, with some clever offloading in the build-up.

Ireland were then caught out by Stephen Parez Edo Martin’s short restart, which he gobbled up ahead of Sean Cribbin to dive in under the posts.

It looked a long way back for Ireland at 19-0 down at the break, but the quick-thinking Roche made a difference off the bench.

When Smith’s robust counter ruck led to a penalty, the scrum half went quickly and got away from Parez Edo Martin to pull back seven points.

Niall Comerford made up for a knock-on by winning a turnover penalty, only for Roche to kick the ball dead and as the clock wound down, play became increasingly scrappy.

Ireland conjured a consolation score past the final hooter, McNulty’s inside pass and a classy offload over the top from Lennox put Comerford over. Roche’s conversion from the left missed on the near side.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC Cape Town Sevens, Cape Town Stadium, December 9-11, 2022):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Will Goddard (IQ Rugby)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
Aaron O’Sullivan (UCD RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC Cape Town Sevens:

Friday, December 9 –


IRELAND 19 JAPAN 5, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Harry McNulty, Chay Mullins 2; Cons: Hugo Lennox, Mark Roche
Japan: Try: Kameli Soejima
HT: Ireland 7 Japan 5

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Aaron O’Sullivan, Zac Ward, Sean Cribbin, Hugo Lennox, Ed Kelly, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Mark Roche, Jack Kelly, Chay Mullins, Andrew Smith, Bryan Mollen.

Day 1 Round-Up: Roche Reaches World Series Century Mark In Cape Town

Saturday, December 10 –


IRELAND 19 URUGUAY 22, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Aaron O’Sullivan, Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins; Cons: Niall Comerford, Hugo Lennox
Uruguay: Tries: Diego Ardao, Mateo Vinals, Ignacio Facciolo 2; Con: Guillermo Lijtenstein
HT: Ireland 12 Uruguay 12

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Jack Kelly, Aaron O’Sullivan, Mark Roche, Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Andrew Smith, Hugo Lennox, Bryan Mollen, Ed Kelly. Not used: Sean Cribbin.

IRELAND 21 SAMOA 14, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Hugo Lennox, Harry McNulty; Cons: Mark Roche 3
Samoa: Tries: Paul Scanlan, Tuna Tuitama; Cons: Paul Scanlan, Neueli Leitufia
HT: Ireland 7 Samoa 7

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Ed Kelly, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Hugo Lennox, Chay Mullins, Bryan Mollen. Not used: Zac Ward, Niall Comerford.

Day 2 Round-Up: Ireland Men Miss Out On Cup Quarter-Final Berth In Cape Town

Sunday, December 11 –


IRELAND 19 KENYA 14 (after extra-time), Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy 3; Cons: Hugo Lennox 2
Kenya: Tries: Edmund Anya, Daniel Taabu; Cons: Anthony Omondi 2
HT: Ireland 0 Kenya 14

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Bryan Mollen, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Hugo Lennox, Jack Kelly, Ed Kelly, Andrew Smith. Not used: Sean Cribbin.


IRELAND 12 FRANCE 19, Cape Town Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Niall Comerford; Con: Mark Roche
France: Tries: Aaron Grandidier, Rayan Rebbadj, Stephen Parez Edo Martin; Cons: Marius Domon 2
HT: Ireland 0 France 19

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Chay Mullins, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Mark Roche, Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Bryan Mollen. Not used: Ed Kelly.