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Ireland Sevens Youngsters Given Valuable Game-Time In Hamburg Heat

Ireland Sevens Youngsters Given Valuable Game-Time In Hamburg Heat

Ireland Sevens Youngsters Given Valuable Game-Time In Hamburg Heat

Ireland Sevens newcomer Alanna Fitzpatrick takes on the Portuguese defence on the opening day of the Hamburg Sevens

The Ireland Women’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) followed a convincing opening win with a frustrating defeat in the summer heat of the Hamburg Sevens.

On the back of their historic Olympic qualification, the final leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Championship Series has given Ireland coach Allan Temple-Jones the chance to develop the squad further and test out a number of young players.

Alanna Fitzpatrick, who started both games, Ava Ryder and Emma Tilly all made their Ireland Sevens debuts today, while Athy flyer Amy Larn is poised to do likewise as the tournament continues over the weekend.

Eve Higgins has stepped up as captain, leading by example with a haul of five tries so far. The youthful Ireland side defeated Portugal 32-5 before being edged out 24-19 by an ever-improving Italian outfit.

Temple-Jones’ charges will aim to bounce back tomorrow morning against Poland, who currently lead Pool C with two wins out of two. That game kicks off at 9.22am local time/8.22am Irish time – live on Rugby Europe TV.

The third place finishers at the opening leg in the Algarve, Ireland began their Hamburg run against 10th seeds Portugal. Higgins and Kate Farrell McCabe were at half-back and wielded plenty of influence.

Claire Boles profited from a loose Portuguese lineout, gobbling up the turnover on the ground before Higgins, fed in midfield, managed to jink in between two defenders and dart in under the posts.

After Farrell McCabe had supplied the extras, Laois teenager Fitzpatrick carried well on two occasions as Ireland pressed for a second try. It arrived when Higgins tapped a penalty and sent Katie Heffernan over from close range.

Erin King got in a good position to win a turnover penalty, which she took quickly to release Farrell McCabe for the left corner. That made it 17-0 with little over five minutes on the clock.

Continuing to retain possession from Farrell McCabe’s well-placed restarts, Ireland added five more points before half-time. A neat line of passes gave Clare Gorman a one-on-one and she went on the outside to cross the whitewash.

Fitzpatrick then released Higgins for a breakaway fifth score early in the second half, before Portugal got off the mark when Adelina Costa’s well-timed pass put Mariana Santos racing over from the left wing.

Ryder and Tilly came off the bench along with returning scrum half Aoibheann Reilly, who is back from a long-term knee injury. All three players were involved in a prolonged attack that ended with Higgins reaching over out wide to complete her hat-trick.

In their second outing of the day, Ireland again succeeded in building early momentum against Italy, with King’s well-won penalty at the breakdown also seeing Italy’s Gaia Buso sin-binned.

The defence was gradually worn down for Higgins to nip over past two defenders. The lead was duly extended to 12 points when Higgins’ counter-rucking, combined with a poach from King, set up an attack out to the left and a well-taken score from Boles.

However, the Azzurre hit back strongly to draw level at the break. Aura Muzzo and Beatrice Capomaggi strung together two late tries as Ireland began to leak penalties at the breakdown and the Italians upped the tempo in attack.

Laura Paganini’s nice offload out of a double tackle allowed Capomaggi to power over from a few metres out, and Muzzo soon completed her brace, getting over past Gorman’s tackle following a pacy move just after the restart.

Ireland regrouped and Higgins cut inside Maria Magatti to run in behind the posts in the ninth minute. Farrell McCabe converted to edge the girls in green back in front at 19-17.

Italy responded with a brilliant try from deep, though, as Buso got her hands free in a double tackle. She set up a lung-busting run from Paganini who had the pace to stay clear of Boles and King and reclaim the lead.

Gorman was hauled down as she attempted to break free near the right touchline, yet Ireland were not accurate enough during the dying minutes. They were turned over, lost a lineout and then coughed up a crucial last-minute penalty as Italy prevailed.

You can keep up to date with the fixtures, results and pool tables on the Rugby Europe website. All the games can be watched live on Rugby Europe TV.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (Rugby Europe Sevens Championship Series – Leg 2, Hamburg Sevens, Germany, Friday, July 7-Sunday, July 9, 2023):

Claire Boles (Railway Union RFC)
Alanna Fitzpatrick (Portarlington RFC/Blackrock College RFC) *
Clare Gorman (Old Belvedere RFC)
Katie Heffernan (Railway Union RFC)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC) (capt)
Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC)
Lucinda Kinghan (Railway Union RFC)
Vicky Elmes Kinlan (Wicklow RFC)
Amy Larn (Athy RFC) *
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC)
Ava Ryder (Railway Union RFC) *
Emma Tilly (MU Barnhall RFC/Old Belvedere RFC) *

* Denotes uncapped player

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Schedule – Hamburg Sevens:

Friday, July 7 –


IRELAND 32 PORTUGAL 5, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins 3, Katie Heffernan, Kate Farrell McCabe, Clare Gorman; Con: Kate Farrell McCabe
Portugal: Try: Mariana Santos
HT: Ireland 22 Portugal 0

Watch Match Video

Team: Claire Boles, Katie Heffernan, Erin King, Kate Farrell McCabe, Eve Higgins (capt), Alanna Fitzpatrick, Clare Gorman.

Subs used: Lucinda Kinghan, Aoibheann Reilly, Ava Ryder, Emma Tilly. Not used: Amy Larn.

IRELAND 19 ITALY 24, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins 2, Claire Boles; Cons: Kate Farrell McCabe 2
Italy: Tries: Aura Muzzo 2, Beatrice Capomaggi, Laura Paganini; Cons: Laura Paganini, Gaia Buso
HT: Ireland 12 Italy 12

Watch Match Video

Team: Claire Boles, Katie Heffernan, Erin King, Kate Farrell McCabe, Eve Higgins (capt), Alanna Fitzpatrick, Clare Gorman.

Subs used: Aoibheann Reilly, Lucinda Kinghan. Not used: Ava Ryder, Emma Tilly, Amy Larn.

Saturday, July 8 –


IRELAND v POLAND, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg, kick-off 9.22am local time/8.22am Irish time


Sunday, July 9 –