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Ireland Men Set Up Rematch With Britain In Algarve Semi-Final

Ireland Men Set Up Rematch With Britain In Algarve Semi-Final

Ireland Men Set Up Rematch With Britain In Algarve Semi-Final

UCD clubman Dylan O'Grady races clear to score Ireland's opening try against Great Britain during their pool clash in Algarve

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) will play Great Britain for the second time this weekend when the sides lock horns in Sunday’s semi-finals of the Algarve Sevens.

Watch live on www.rugbyeurope.tv (free registration)

Ireland had the upper hand in today’s encounter with Britain, winning 12-7 thanks to tries from Dylan O’Grady and Bryan Mollen. The Pool C winners moved on to face tournament hosts Portugal in the last-eight.

A 29-10 victory, topped off by late tries from the returning Terry Kennedy and Jack Kelly, put James Topping’s charges through to the semis where Britain, impressive 22-12 winners over Germany, await.

The latest Ireland-Britain duel will kick off tomorrow at 1.06pm and give another indicator of how both squads are shaping up heading into the Olympic qualifying tournament at the European Games in Krakow, Poland (June 25-27).

Having absorbed some early British pressure during today’s pool match, Ireland took the lead in the third minute when O’Grady neatly stepped inside Tom Emery and handed off Freddie Roddick to touch down under the posts.

Following Billy Dardis’ conversion for a 7-0 lead and then an offside call against the men in green, Britain had the better of the remainder of the first half. However, a Jamie Farndale try was ruled out for a forward pass from Kaleem Barreto.

It was end-to-end stuff during the second period, with both teams working hard to try and prize open the opposition defence. The key moment came in the 12th minute when Ireland struck for their second score.

Mark Roche’s tackle on Ross McCann forced a knock-on, Zac Ward fed Andrew Smith to jink up into the British 22, and Ward took a return pass to send Mollen over in the left corner, past Femi Sofolarin.

Farndale and Sofolarin were both involved in a speedy attack which saw Will Homer score from a ruck, leaving just five points in it. Nonetheless, Ward won the restart and Kennedy was able to kick the ball dead and confirm a final scoreline of 12-7.

Giving his reaction afterwards, former captain Dardis said: “I suppose it wasn’t perfect by our standards, but three (pool) wins is pretty good and (it was) a good win there.

“It’s going to be a long few weeks between this and the Krakow tournament, so it’s nice to put another marker down.

“We’re just looking forward to building a bit of momentum this weekend, hopefully go all the way. But anyone could win this tournament. Whoever you get at this level is tough. Especially with the heat, it makes it very difficult.”

With the decibel level raised by the home fans, Harry McNulty slapped down Roche’s kick-off against Portugal to Gavin Mullin, who subsequently missed out on a first-minute try when he knocked on past the whitewash.

Scrum half Roche made sure Ireland opened their account soon after, squeezing in under the posts after a carry from Liam McNamara had sucked in a couple of defenders. Roche converted for a 7-0 lead.

The home side, well supported from the stand, hit back when good work from Josa Paiva released Diogo Rodrigues for a fine finish from deep.

A clever dummy and burst of pace allowed Smith to restore the seven-point gap, and then the Connacht signing turned provider as his weaving run out to the left set up Mullin to go over out wide.

Roche added the extras for a 19-5 interval advantage, but Portugal, having held Ireland out at the start of the second half, produced a second unconverted try, scored by Manuel Marta in the 11th minute at the end of an exhaustive spell of play.

Fresh off the bench, Kennedy intelligently cut back against the grain, scampering down the left touchline to score Ireland’s fourth try. It all came from a big shove at a scrum which led to Roche snapping up turnover ball.

There was more in the tank, and further good work from the restart led to Kelly reaching over in the corner from a nicely-flighted pass by Mollen. On the other side of the draw, France and Georgia will face off after the Lelos overcame Spain 24-12.

Already relishing the final day’s action in Portugal, Niall Comerford commented: “Portugal really put it up to us. We knew how physical and strong they would be. It was really tight in the first half and they kept that energy going.

“Looking at the semi-final, we played Britain already today and we know how strong they are. We know we’re going to have to play our best to try to come out with a result there. Looking forward to it.”

You can watch all the matches live as they happen from the Algarve Sevens here on www.rugbyeurope.tv (free registration).

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby Europe Sevens Championship Series – Leg 1, Algarve Sevens, Portugal, Friday, June 9-Sunday, June 11, 2023):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Liam McNamara (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC)
Gavin Mullin (UCD RFC)
Dylan O’Grady (UCD RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – Algarve Sevens:

Friday, June 9 –


BELGIUM 7 IRELAND 31, Sports Complex Vila Real de Santo António, Algarve
Scorers: Belgium: Try: Gaspard Lalli; Con: Ryan Godsmark
Ireland: Tries: Zac Ward, Dylan O’Grady, Jack Kelly, Liam McNamara, Jordan Conroy; Cons: Billy Dardis 2, Mark Roche
HT: Belgium 0 Ireland 24

Watch Match Video

Team: Zac Ward, Niall Comerford, Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis, Liam McNamara, Terry Kennedy, Dylan O’Grady.

Subs used: Harry McNulty (capt), Mark Roche, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy, Andrew Smith.

FRANCE 7 IRELAND 34, Sports Complex Vila Real de Santo António, Algarve
Scorers: France: Try: Alexis Levron; Con: Paul Auradou
Ireland: Tries: Zac Ward, Jordan Conroy, Andrew Smith 2, Harry McNulty, Dylan O’Grady; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
HT: France 7 Ireland 22

Watch Match Video

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Andrew Smith, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Liam McNamara, Gavin Mullin, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Bryan Mollen, Billy Dardis, Niall Comerford, Terry Kennedy, Dylan O’Grady.

Day 1 Round-Up: Kennedy Returns As Ireland Men Build Momentum In European Opener

Saturday, June 10 –


IRELAND 12 GREAT BRITAIN 7, Sports Complex Vila Real de Santo António, Algarve
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Dylan O’Grady, Bryan Mollen; Con: Billy Dardis
Great Britain: Try: Will Homer; Con: Matthew Davidson
HT: Ireland 7 Great Britain 0

Watch Match Video

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis, Bryan Mollen, Terry Kennedy, Dylan O’Grady.

Subs used: Jordan Conroy, Mark Roche, Zac Ward, Andrew Smith, Gavin Mullin.


IRELAND 29 PORTUGAL 10, Sports Complex Vila Real de Santo António, Algarve
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Andrew Smith, Gavin Mullin, Terry Kennedy, Jack Kelly; Cons: Mark Roche 2
Portugal: Tries: Diogo Rodrigues, Manuel Marta
HT: Ireland 19 Portugal 5

Watch Match Video

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Andrew Smith, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Liam McNamara, Gavin Mullin, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Terry Kennedy, Jack Kelly, Bryan Mollen, Billy Dardis. Not used: Dylan O’Grady.

Sunday, June 11 –


GREAT BRITAIN v IRELAND, Sports Complex Vila Real de Santo António, Algarve, 1.06pm local time/Irish time