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Ireland Men To Play Belgium In Olympic Qualifier’s Last-Eight

Ireland Men To Play Belgium In Olympic Qualifier’s Last-Eight

Ireland Men To Play Belgium In Olympic Qualifier’s Last-Eight

Ireland's Bryan Mollen takes on Samuel Rainger of Germany during the final round of pool matches in Krakow ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) advanced to the Cup quarter-finals at the European Games in Krakow after beating Germany 19-7 to finish top of Pool A.

Ireland fell behind to a Nikolai Klewinghaus try, but Jack Kelly pulled back five points before two second half scores from Jordan Conroy and Andrew Smith made it three pool wins out of three.

Belgium, who were the second best third place finishers, will provide the quarter-final opposition for James Topping’s men at 7.14pm local time/6.14pm Irish time this evening. You can watch live on the RTÉ Player and here on rugbyeurope.tv.

The winners of Ireland v Belgium will play either Georgia, whom Ireland defeated to win the Algarve Sevens title recently, or Portugal at the semi-final stage. The other unbeaten pool winners, Great Britain and Spain, will meet Germany and Italy respectively in the last-eight.

The team that wins the European Games competition in Poland will qualify for next summer’s Olympics in Paris, while the second and third place finishers advance to the global repechage event for a final shot at qualification.

It was a slower start from Ireland on day two at the Henryk Reyman Stadium. Well organised in defence, Germany advanced thanks to a couple of penalties before Klewinghaus twice used a strong hand-off to score out wide.

Kelly hit back in the fifth minute, charging away down the left wing after space had initially opened up for captain Harry McNulty who linked well with Smith to set the former Ireland Under-20 skipper free.

The Germans held onto the lead with Mark Roche’s conversion bouncing away off the left hand post. Liam McNamara also had to react smartly to make a try-saving tackle on Bastian van der Bosch.

Conroy gave Ireland the ideal start to the second half as, despite having very little space to work with, he slipped past two attempted tackles to score his third try of the tournament. The newly-introduced Billy Dardis converted.

Terry Kennedy, who had also been sprung from the bench, probed with one of his trademark runs, gliding back out to the left wing in the 10th minute. He combined with Dardis to send Smith cutting in past two defenders for a key seven-pointer.

Germany did gain ground and threaten to respond, but Kelly’s impact at the breakdown led to a clearing penalty. Another decision went Ireland’s way past halfway, and Dardis kicked the ball dead with time up on the clock.

Giving his reaction afterwards, Dardis said: “It was a good solid win. The first half was a bit shaky. We knew they were going to come at us with a few trick plays and stuff like that, but it was nice to get a good solid win like that in the end.

“Those kind of games are always going to be tense. First half, teams are feeling each other out. We made a few mistakes, but did well to keep them out just before half-time.

“It gave us a bit of momentum and then we played well in the second half. It’s the last group game and we’ve got to move on now.

“The end goal is obviously to win that final on Tuesday night, but each game is very important from here on out. It’s knockout, you have to be right on it, very accurate and clinical. It’ll be a big one.”

All of the European Games matches are broadcast live on rugbyeurope.tv via the Rugby Europe website – click here for more.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (European Games, Henryk Reyman Stadium, Krakow, Poland, Sunday, June 25-Tuesday, June 27, 2023):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
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 (Lansdowne FC)
Dylan O’Grady (UCD RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Leinster)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – European Games:

Sunday, June 25 –


IRELAND 66 POLAND 0, Henryk Reyman Stadium, Krakow
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Liam McNamara, Zac Ward 2, Jordan Conroy 2, Bryan Mollen 2, Andrew Smith, Niall Comerford, Jack Kelly; Cons: Billy Dardis 7, Mark Roche
Poland: –
HT: Ireland 26 Poland 0

Team: Jack Kelly, Andrew Smith, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Sean Cribbin, Liam McNamara, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Harry McNulty (capt), Bryan Mollen, Niall Comerford, Dylan O’Grady, Mark Roche.

IRELAND 38 ITALY 7, Henryk Reyman Stadium, Krakow
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy 2, Liam McNamara, Harry McNulty, Dylan O’Grady, Andrew Smith; Cons: Mark Roche 2, Billy Dardis 2
Italy: Try: Cristian Lai; Con: Alessandro Fusco
HT: Ireland 17 Italy 7

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Liam McNamara, Terry Kennedy, Dylan O’Grady.

Subs used: Billy Dardis, Sean Cribbin, Andrew Smith, Bryan Mollen. Not used: Jordan Conroy.

Day 1 Round-Up: Ireland Men Begin Olympic Qualifier With Brace Of Wins

Monday, June 26 –


IRELAND 19 GERMANY 7, Henryk Reyman Stadium, Krakow
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jack Kelly, Jordan Conroy, Andrew Smith; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
Germany: Try: Nikolai Klewinghaus; Con: Nikolai Klewinghaus
HT: Ireland 5 Germany 7

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Andrew Smith, Jack Kelly, Mark Roche, Liam McNamara, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy.

Subs used: Billy Dardis, Terry Kennedy, Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Dylan O’Grady.


IRELAND v BELGIUM, Henryk Reyman Stadium, Krakow, kick-off 7.14pm local time/6.14pm Irish time

Tuesday, June 27 –