Jump to main content


Ireland Men Set For Spain Rematch At Hamburg Sevens

Ireland Men Set For Spain Rematch At Hamburg Sevens

Ireland Men Set For Spain Rematch At Hamburg Sevens

Dylan O'Grady races through the heart of the Portuguese defence to score his first try during the Cup quarter-final clash at the Hamburg Sevens

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) will have a rematch with pool rivals Spain when the Hamburg Sevens Cup semi-finals take place tomorrow.

Day two of the final leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Championship Series was a busy one for the Ireland Men, who suffered a disappointing 24-0 defeat to hosts Germany before responding with two hard-fought wins.

They advanced as the best third place finishers from the pool stages thanks to a 12-10 victory over Spain, the tries coming from Niall Comerford and Zac Ward. Billy Dardis landed what proved to be a crucial conversion.

Taking charge of a much-changed squad in the absence of James Topping, IRFU coach Sam Myers watched on as a Dylan O’Grady brace of tries – adding to captain Harry McNulty’s earlier effort – saw them overcome quarter-final opponents Portugal on a 19-12 scoreline.

That means Ireland will renew rivalries with Spain, who advanced to the last-four after beating Belgium 19-0. Their semi-final kicks off at 12.28pm local time/11.28am Irish time – live on Rugby Europe TV. Great Britain and France are also in contention for the silverware.

You can keep up to date with the fixtures and results from the Hamburg Sevens on the Rugby Europe website. All the games can be watched live on Rugby Europe TV.

Ireland fell foul of referee Eki Fanlo’s whistle early on in the Germany game, with a series of penalties leading to Nikolai Klewinghaus crashing over for a second-minute converted try.

Individual errors, coupled with a well-organised German defence, prevented the recent Algarve Sevens and European Games champions from responding, most notably when Aaron O’Sullivan knocked on a pass out wide.

Germany made them pay with a second try on the stroke of half-time, as Jakob Dipper benefited from quick lineout ball and a fleet-footed attack out to the right. That left Ireland with a 12-0 deficit to overcome.

A mistimed lineout added to Ireland’s frustration, as did a Sean Cribbin knock-on after Ward had broken the defensive line. Worse followed as Germany succeeded in scoring from the resulting scrum.

Talented youngster Dipper shrugged off Hugo Lennox’s tackle and evaded the clutches of Ward to run in his second try. Niklas Koch added the extras to open up a 19-point lead.

Much to the delight of the partisan home crowd, Dipper went on to claim a hat-trick thanks to a purposeful late attack. It looked like a penalty for crossing should have been awarded to Ireland, but they had to move on quickly to play Spain.

Better ball retention saw the European Series leaders make early inroads against Spain, with forwards Ward and McNulty punching holes in the defence. They remained scoreless, though, in the scorching sunshine.

Just when Ward looked set to score in the left corner, he was pulled back for a forward pass from McNulty. Ireland then stood up to Spain’s first serious attack thanks to the efforts of O’Grady and Bryan Mollen, who forced a knock-on.

Ireland’s patience on the ball was finally rewarded when McNulty, under pressure from two defenders, got his offload away for Comerford to scoot clear from his own 22 for a hard-earned seven-pointer.

That was the final play of a defence-dominated first half, and Chay Mullins’ dancing feet swiftly led them back into the Spanish 22 on the restart. On the opposite wing, Ward used a neat jink and burst of pace to run in try number two.

However, Spain cancelled out that score in quick fashion, releasing Tiago Romero to cross out wide. O’Sullivan’s chase ensured that the conversion was too difficult at 12-5.

A turnover penalty won by Matthew McDonald helped to put Ireland back on the front foot, but Spain squeezed in a last-gasp try to make it a nervy finish for Myer’s men.

Aratz de Goicoechea finished off a break spearheaded by Estanislao Bay, only for Juan Ramos to pull his conversion wide, to the left of the posts, as a relieved Ireland emerged as two-point winners.

Back in action at the evening session, Ireland cut open Portugal’s defence for an early try, the momentum coming from O’Sullivan initially claiming Lennox’s throw to the back of a lineout.

Former Ireland Under-20 international O’Grady hurtled through on a direct run and was tackled just a few metres short, before McNulty used a penalty advantage to cross from close range.

Following the conversion from Lennox, McNulty dug in to win a clearing penalty to break up some promising Portuguese phases. Lennox also won turnover ball with some clever work off a scrum.

Invited forward from 60 metres out, O’Grady stepped off his left and his speed caught out two defenders. His nicely-angled run broke Portugal’s defensive barrier right through the middle, briefly widening the gap to 14 points.

Os Lobos made sure they were only seven in arrears at the interval, though, as they built through some energy-sapping late phases. Joao Antunes converted his own try, which saw him step inside Cribbin from a ruck.

Into the second period, Portugal were punished for a knock-on in the ninth minute. McNulty suddenly got the ball wide to O’Grady who brilliantly outpaced Fabio Conceicao on the outside to score from the Irish 10-metre line.

The Portuguese matched that unconverted effort with one of their own with time almost up. Ireland were pinged twice at the breakdown before Vasco Camara sniped over from a ruck just a few metres out.

The seven-point gap proved to be enough for Ireland in the end, as Antunes missed the conversion from the right and Ward batted back the final restart to gather it at the second attempt, allowing McDonald to kick the ball dead.

Giving his reaction afterwards, McNulty said: “It was a really tough game. We’ve played Portugal quite a number of times the last couple of European Series, and we played them also at the World Cup in Cape Town.

“Really tough game. They’re a really strong side, and they’re quite young as far as I’m aware, so they’re building really nicely.

“It’s been a really long season. As I mentioned we had the World Cup before, we had LA before that, we had Rugby Europe before that and the World Series before that. We’ve basically been going two seasons straight.

“We managed to qualify for the Olympics in Krakow so this was a really great opportunity for guys, who didn’t get selected and didn’t get game-time, to come here and start getting some minutes under their belt.”

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

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Matthew McDonald (IQ Rugby)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (Lansdowne FC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Dylan O’Grady (UCD RFC)
Aaron O’Sullivan (UCD RFC)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – Hamburg Sevens:

Friday, July 7 –


IRELAND 50 CZECHIA 0, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Lennox, Aaron O’Sullivan, Zac Ward, Chay Mullins, Dylan O’Grady 2, Bryan Mollen, Niall Comerford; Cons: Hugo Lennox 4, Ed Kelly
Czechia: –
HT: Ireland 28 Czechia 0

Watch Match Video

Team: Aaron O’Sullivan, Matthew McDonald, Zac Ward, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Chay Mullins, Dylan O’Grady.

Subs used: Niall Comerford, Ed Kelly, Bryan Mollen, Harry McNulty (capt), Billy Dardis.

Day 1 Round-Up: Ireland Men Hit Half-Century Mark In Hamburg Sevens Opener

Saturday, July 8 –


IRELAND 0 GERMANY 24, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Ireland: –
Germany: Tries: Nikolai Klewinghaus, Jakob Dipper 3; Cons: Nikolai Klewinghaus, Niklas Koch
HT: Ireland 0 Germany 12

Watch Match Video

Team: Aaron O’Sullivan, Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Ed Kelly, Sean Cribbin, Bryan Mollen, Chay Mullins.

Subs used: Matthew McDonald, Harry McNulty (capt), Hugo Lennox, Dylan O’Grady. Not used: Billy Dardis.

IRELAND 12 SPAIN 10, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Niall Comerford, Zac Ward; Con: Billy Dardis
Spain: Tries: Tiago Romero, Aratz de Goicoechea
HT: Ireland 7 Spain 0

Watch Match Video

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Bryan Mollen, Chay Mullins, Dylan O’Grady.

Subs used: Sean Cribbin, Matthew McDonald, Aaron O’Sullivan, Ed Kelly. Not used: Hugo Lennox.


PORTUGAL 12 IRELAND 19, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Portugal: Tries: Joao Antunes, Vasco Camara; Con: Joao Antunes
Ireland: Tries: Harry McNulty, Dylan O’Grady 2; Cons: Hugo Lennox 2
HT: Portugal 7 Ireland 14

Watch Match Video

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Aaron O’Sullivan, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Ed Kelly, Dylan O’Grady.

Subs used: Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Chay Mullins, Matthew McDonald, Bryan Mollen.

Sunday, July 9 –


IRELAND v SPAIN, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg, kick-off 12.28pm local time/11.28am Irish time