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Ireland U-18 Men Advance As Pool Winners At European Sevens Championship

Ireland U-18 Men Advance As Pool Winners At European Sevens Championship

Ireland U-18 Men Advance As Pool Winners At European Sevens Championship

Paidi Farrell, Ireland's joint top try scorer on the opening day, is pictured in action against tournament hosts Switzerland

The Ireland Under-18 Men’s Sevens team won through to the Cup quarter-finals of the Rugby Europe U-18 Sevens Championship thanks to a trio of pool wins.

In sunny conditions at Switzerland’s National Sports Centre in Macolin, the Kieran Hurrell-coached squad overcame the challenges posed by the host nation (31-19), Germany (33-0) and Czechia (49-0). Replays can be viewed below.

Captained by Munster starlet Gene O’Leary Kareem, the Ireland Under-18s finished top of Pool B and will meet Germany again at the quarter-final stage tomorrow morning (kick-off 10.22am local time/9.22am Irish time).

Skerries’ Tim Deering and Paidi Farrell, who hails from Edenderry, ran in four tries each during the pool stages, which also saw defending champions France and Spain go unbeaten in topping their respective pools.

All of the fixtures, results and pool tables can be found on the Rugby Europe website (Men’s here and Women’s here), while live streaming of the games is available via Rugby Europe TV here.

O’Leary Kareem is the only returning player from last year’s Ireland team that won European silver. Hurrell’s new-look side ran out 12-point winners over Switzerland in today’s pool opener, with Leinster pair Farrell and Deering both bagging braces.

Tullamore flyer Farrell cut inside one defender and fended off another before accelerating clear to score after barely 40 seconds. Deering then arced his way in under the posts after profiting from a Swiss knock-on.

O’Leary Kareem converted both tries, with Hurrell’s charges holding a 19-7 lead at half-time after Leo Duport and Deering had swapped back-to-back scores.

There was some fine Irish interplay from a Swiss restart, which Orin Burke did well to gobble up. He used a neat sidestep to break into space, linking with Oisin Minogue who sent Deering over in the left corner.

Using an early second half scrum as a launchpad, Ireland attacked out to the left and Connor Fahy’s well-timed pass put Farrell darting over to extend the lead to 24-7.

Ulster’s Fraser Cunningham was hauled down as he missed out on a breakaway try, before Switzerland delighted the home crowd with a flurry of attacking phases and an eventual Gabriel Fernandez score from a quick tap.

Powerful forward Luke Murphy led Ireland’s response with a big charge down the right touchline. He picked his moment to offload inside for fellow replacement Tom Murtagh to finish off beside the posts and convert.

A late surge downfield led to further points for Switzerland, with Cian Dennehy crossing from close range for a consolation try, but Ireland had done enough to make a winning start.

Facing Germany in the second round, Burke and Murtagh’s loop move in midfield off a scrum led to the former unleashing Fahy. He used a strong hand-off and burst of pace to score from the German 10-metre line.

Ireland absorbed some German pressure before Deering ran in an excellent 80-metre solo try. He ripped the ball away from Kostadin Asenov, fended off one of his chasers and stayed clear of two more to touch down near the posts.

Leading 12-0 at half-time, it took some individual brilliance from Matthew Te Pou to deliver try number three. He came in off his left wing and beat four defenders with a slaloming run that began inside Ireland’s 10-metre line.

Murtagh soon produced turnover ball from a tackle near halfway, and it was worked out to the left where Cunningham sliced in between two defenders for a well-taken 10th-minute effort, making it 26-0.

Belvedere College’s Jack Dunne wrapped up the scoring with just over a minute remaining. Minogue carried well, Murphy offloaded out of a tackle, and Fahy athletically evaded the defence before setting up Dunne to cut in from the left. O’Leary Kareem converted.

Deering continued his try-scoring run with the opener against Czechia after just 10 seconds. Dunne’s kick-off was well placed and the Czechs failed to gather possession cleanly, allowing Deering to dribble through and dot down.

It was Dunne’s turnover and quick pass that released Minogue for the second try, the scorer opening up a gap thanks to a clever dummy. O’Leary Kareem knocked over his second conversion for a 14-0 scoreline.

Te Pou and Cunningham were both denied by a foot in touch before O’Leary Kareem’s smooth sidestepping paved the way for Dunne to score from 35 metres out.

They squeezed in a fourth converted try before the interval, with instinctive offloads from Murphy and Deering seeing Dunne go close. Murphy’s impact at the ruck was crucial, setting up Deering and O’Leary Kareem to feed the ball out for Minogue to double his tally.

The newly-introduced Farrell turned scrappy scrum ball into a searing 10th-minute try from just behind the Irish whitewash. He burned past Tristan Link and there was no reeling him in. Murtagh converted from straight in front.

Farrell won an initial turnover and was released from just outside Ireland’s 22 for his second score, putting 42 points between the sides. Murtagh also crisply converted his own last-minute try, which came after Burke had attacked off the back of a scrum.

IRELAND UNDER-18 MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2023 Rugby Europe U-18 Men’s Sevens Championship, National Sports Centre, Macolin, Switzerland, Saturday, July 15-Sunday, July 16):

Connor Fahy (Good Counsel College/Wexford Wanderers RFC/Leinster)
Fraser Cunningham (RBAI/Ulster)
Gene O’Leary Kareem (Presentation Brothers College Cork/Munster)
Jack Dunne (Belvedere College/Leinster)
Luke Murphy (Ardscoil Rís/Munster)
Matthew Te Pou (St. Munchin’s College/Munster)
Oisin Minogue (St. Munchin’s College/Munster)
Orin Burke (Presentation College Athenry/Monivea RFC/Connacht)
Paidi Farrell (St. Mary’s Secondary School Edenderry/Tullamore RFC/Leinster)
Tim Deering (Skerries Community College/Skerries RFC/Leinster)
Tom Murtagh (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster)
Zach Allen (Bandon RFC/Munster)

IRELAND U-18 MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – Macolin:

Saturday, July 15 –


IRELAND U-18s 31 SWITZERLAND U-18s 19, National Sports Centre, Macolin
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Paidi Farrell 2, Tim Deering 2, Tom Murtagh; Cons: Gene O’Leary Kareem 2, Tom Murtagh
Switzerland: Tries: Leo Duport, Gabriel Fernandez, Cian Dennehy; Cons: James Beresford, Gabriel Fernandez
HT: Ireland 19 Switzerland 7

Team: Tim Deering, Zach Allen, Oisin Minogue, Orin Burke, Gene O’Leary Kareem (capt), Connor Fahy, Paidi Farrell.

Subs used: Matthew Te Pou, Fraser Cunningham, Luke Murphy, Tom Murtagh, Jack Dunne.

IRELAND U-18s 33 GERMANY U-18s 0, National Sports Centre, Macolin
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Connor Fahy, Tim Deering, Matthew Te Pou, Fraser Cunningham, Jack Dunne; Cons: Tom Murtagh 3, Gene O’Leary Kareem
Germany: –
HT: Ireland 12 Germany 0

Team: Tim Deering, Zach Allen, Luke Murphy, Orin Burke, Tom Murtagh, Connor Fahy, Matthew Te Pou.

Subs used: Jack Dunne, Fraser Cunningham, Gene O’Leary Kareem (capt), Oisin Minogue. Not used: Paidi Farrell.

IRELAND U-18s 49 CZECHIA U-18s 0, National Sports Centre, Macolin
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Tim Deering, Oisin Minogue 2, Jack Dunne, Paidi Farrell 2, Tom Murtagh; Cons: Gene O’Leary Kareem 4, Tom Murtagh, Jack Dunne
Czechia: –
HT: Ireland 28 Czechia 0

Team: Oisin Minogue, Fraser Cunningham, Luke Murphy, Jack Dunne, Gene O’Leary Kareem (capt), Tim Deering, Matthew Te Pou.

Subs used: Connor Fahy, Tom Murtagh, Zach Allen, Paidi Farrell, Orin Burke.

Sunday, July 16 – 


IRELAND U-18s v GERMANY U-18s, National Sports Centre, Macolin, 10.22am local time/9.22am Irish time