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Ireland Men Beat Britain On The Way To Sixth Place Finish

Ireland Men Beat Britain On The Way To Sixth Place Finish

Ireland Men Beat Britain On The Way To Sixth Place Finish

Ireland debutant Sean Galvin scored against Great Britain and Australia on the final day of the HSBC France Sevens in Toulouse ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

Debutants Sean Galvin and Connor O’Sullivan scored their first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tries as the Ireland Men (sponsored by TritonLake) recorded a sixth place finish in Toulouse.

Having struggled for form in Singapore last month, this was a much-improved performance from James Topping’s men, the highlights of which were wins over Samoa, Japan (a record score and margin) and Great Britain.

They also ran fifth-ranked Australia close in two clashes, including today’s 26-21 5th place play-off defeat which saw Galvin start the try-scoring and Jack Kelly finish it.

It gives the Ireland squad some decent momentum heading into next week’s final leg in London and June’s European Games in Krakow, where a place at the Olympics will be up for grabs for the winning team.

Ballynahinch’s Zac Ward was Ireland’s top try scorer at Stade Ernest Wallon with four tries, closely followed by captain Harry McNulty and Kelly, the former Ireland U-20 skipper, on three each.

They went into the final day of the HSBC France Sevens without Jordan Conroy, who injured himself during yesterday’s Cup quarter-final defeat to New Zealand, the newly-crowned World Series champions.

Skippered by Mark Roche for their 5th place semi-final against Britain, Topping’s charges began the final day with some solid defending. O’Sullivan went the direct route to gain some metres back before Ward struck for a fine individual try.

Picking up possession on the right wing, he showed impressive strength to shrug off both Jamie Adamson and Kaleem Barreto and dart clear for an unconverted fourth-minute score.

Ward also got his fingertips to Roche’s skyscraper restart, allowing Liam McNamara to break up into the British 22. Andrew Smith cut inside and then back out to the left wing where he sent Kelly over in the corner.

While GB winger Femi Sofolarin was in the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on, Galvin was denied a try by a double tackle out wide but there was no stopping him within a minute of the restart.

10-0 became 15-0 when Kelly won turnover ball off a ruck, Ward carried well on the right and timed his pass well for Galvin to nip over from 12 metres out.

O’Sullivan caught the eye for his breakdown work, winning a penalty and then counter-rucking in the 11th minute. The hard-earned possession saw Ward break from halfway, cut in past Paddy Kelly and stretch out to make it 22-0 in the end.

Britain saw out the game with six men, replacement Jamie Farndale picking up a yellow for knocking on an Irish pass with Kelly lurking out wide for a potential try. Galvin had done well before that to reel in Freddie Roddick.

That four-try success set up a rematch with Australia, who had beaten Ireland 12-5 during the pool stages. Galvin got the men in green off to a flying start with a seven-pointer after just 46 seconds.

The Lansdowne clubman stepped inside Dietrich Roache and scampered downfield for a lightning-quick 70-metre run-in, staying clear of the chasing Maurice Longbottom.

Frustratingly for Ireland, Billy Dardis’ restart dropped short and Australia used the possession to hit back quickly, a neat switch move springing James Turner through a gap for the levelling try.

O’Sullivan snapped back with his maiden World Series score in the fourth minute, following up on McNamara’s excellent break down the right wing where he handed off Henry Paterson and supplied a deft offload.

Having won a turnover penalty, Ward was annoyed with himself when dropping a peach of a pass from McNulty as Ireland threatened on the stroke of half-time. Instead, Nathan Lawson countered and stepped inside Galvin’s tackle to make it 14-all.

With 10 minutes on the clock, last year’s World Series champions attacked smartly from a scrum and Lawson used his tall frame to ground the ball despite Galvin’s cover tackle in the left corner.

A fumble from Kelly saw Ireland’s error count increase and, using one of their well-oiled switch plays, Josh Turner tied in two defenders and fed the ball back for Lawson to complete his hat-trick and make it 26-14.

Time ran out on Ireland despite a superb surge downfield from McNulty. That one went unrewarded, but they came again, Roche brilliantly stepping inside one tackle, evading another and then offloading to put Kelly in behind the posts.

This weekend’s results earned Topping’s side 12 points and they have moved up one place to eighth in the overall World Series standings. They have a total of 104 points, lying ahead of the USA (95) while Samoa and South Africa sit above them on 116 points each.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC France Sevens, Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, Friday, May 12-Sunday, May 14, 2023):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)
Sean Galvin (Lansdowne FC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Connor O’Sullivan (Lansdowne FC/IQ Rugby)
Liam McNamara (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC France Sevens:

Friday, May 12 –


SAMOA 12 IRELAND 14, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Samoa: Tries: Paul Scanlan, Faafoi Falaniko; Con: Neueli Leitufia
Ireland: Tries: Billy Dardis, Harry McNulty; Cons: Billy Dardis, Mark Roche
HT: Samoa 7 Ireland 7

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Sean Cribbin, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Liam McNamara, Connor O’Sullivan, Mark Roche.

AUSTRALIA 12 IRELAND 5, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Henry Paterson, Nick Malouf; Con: Maurice Longbottom
Ireland: Try: Liam McNamara
HT: Australia 0 Ireland 5

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Connor O’Sullivan, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Liam McNamara, Andrew Smith, Sean Galvin.

Subs used: Sean Cribbin, Jordan Conroy, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Bryan Mollen.

Day 1 Round-Up: Debuts For O’Sullivan And Galvin As Ireland Men Begin Toulouse Campaign

Saturday, May 13 –


JAPAN 0 IRELAND 66, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Japan: –
Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Zac Ward 2, Harry McNulty 2, Sean Cribbin, Andrew Smith 2, Jack Kelly, Liam McNamara; Cons: Billy Dardis 8
HT: Japan 0 Ireland 28


NEW ZEALAND 35 IRELAND 0, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: New Zealand: Tries: Moses Leo 2, Akuila Rokolisoa, Brady Rush, Scott Curry; Cons: Akuila Rokolisoa 4, Tepaea Savage
Ireland: –
HT: New Zealand 21 Ireland 0

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Sean Cribbin, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Sean Galvin, Mark Roche, Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Liam McNamara.

Day 2 Round-Up: Ireland Men Reach Toulouse Quarter-Finals With Record-Breaking Win

Sunday, May 14 –


IRELAND 22 GREAT BRITAIN 0, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Zac Ward 2, Jack Kelly, Sean Galvin; Con: Mark Roche
Great Britain: –
HT: Ireland 10 Great Britain 0

Team: Jack Kelly, Connor O’Sullivan, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Liam McNamara, Andrew Smith, Sean Galvin.

Subs used: Sean Cribbin, Bryan Mollen, Billy Dardis, Niall Comerford. Not used: Harry McNulty.


AUSTRALIA 26 IRELAND 21, Stade Ernest Wallon
Scorers: Australia: Tries: James Turner, Nathan Lawson 3; Cons: Maurice Longbottom 3
Ireland: Tries: Sean Galvin, Connor O’Sullivan, Jack Kelly; Cons: Billy Dardis 2, Mark Roche
HT: Australia 14 Ireland 14

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Connor O’Sullivan, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Liam McNamara, Bryan Mollen, Sean Galvin.

Subs used: Mark Roche, Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Sean Cribbin. Not used: Niall Comerford.