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Ireland U-18 Women’s Sevens Team Challenging For Top Four Finish

Ireland U-18 Women’s Sevens Team Challenging For Top Four Finish

Ireland U-18 Women’s Sevens Team Challenging For Top Four Finish

The Ireland U-18 Women's Sevens team have seven points after two wins and a defeat on the opening day of the Rugby Europe U-18 Sevens Championship ©www.rugbyunion.cz/Martin Flousek

Lyndsay Clarke and Katie Corrigan scored three tries each as the Ireland Under-18 Women’s Sevens team kicked off their Rugby Europe U-18 Sevens Championship campaign in sweltering Prague.

Temperatures reached 30 degrees and over as Europe’s nine leading sides at this age grade battled it out through two pool phases, with the top four set to progress to tomorrow’s Cup semi-finals.

Coached by Katie Fitzhenry, the Ireland U-18s claimed comprehensive victories over both Poland (52-0) and Belgium (40-0), but suffered a dramatic late 26-20 loss to England.

Their final pool match is against defending champions France tomorrow morning (kick-off 10am local time/9am Irish time). Their hopes of reaching the last-four hinge on that result and the outcome of some of the other games.

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.

Ireland seized the lead inside 90 seconds against Poland, with Corrigan held up short before Lyndsey Clarke ran hard to crash over to the left of the posts. Niamh Crotty clipped over a well-struck conversion.

Ennis speedster Clarke tracked back to shut down a Polish breakout, and when a penalty brought play infield, Tullow’s Corrigan split the defence with a strong try-scoring run from 55 metres out. Crotty’s right boot made it 14-0.

Hannah Clarke showed her pace to get on the outside of Sara Malach, raiding over from the right wing for the third converted try. The Irish try-line was untroubled despite Crotty’s sin-binning for slapping the ball down.

21-0 became 28-0 early in the second half, with captain Lucia Linn breaking in under the posts after replacement Niamh Murphy’s counter-rucking had earned a swift turnover.

Emma Brogan’s jinking run and well-timed offload created a second try for Lyndsay Clarke, and following replacement Emily Foley’s snapping up of the restart, the ball went wide to the right where Tara O’Neill was released for the try-line.

Crotty landed her fifth successful conversion before Ireland passed the half century mark late on. Murphy took advantage of a Polish knock-on and deftly sent Caitriona Finn over for the penultimate try just seconds after her introduction.

The eighth and final try was mostly about the Irish bench, as Robyn O’Connor ripped possession back, dashing infield before Finn released Foley to speed through the gap and score ahead of Patrycja Podlesiecka’s attempted tackle.

It was nip and tuck right from the off between Ireland and England, as Linn’s breathless breakaway run was foiled before the English outfit countered. Hannah Clarke was yellow carded for not being back 10 metres at a penalty.

Despite Clarke’s absence, Crotty reacted quickest to a loose ball in midfield and dribbled through to almost score. From the resulting scrum, O’Connor combined with Crotty whose accurate pass put Foley over to make it 5-0.

It was Ballina talent Foley who carried strongly either side of a well-won O’Connor turnover, and Molly Boote was able to burst in behind the posts to double Ireland’s lead. Crotty miscued the conversion unfortunately.

Leading 10-0 at the break, Ireland coughed up a costly penalty early after the restart and Millie Hyett used a dummy to open England’s account. She added a nicely-struck conversion.

England kept hold of the momentum with Sarah Parry forcing a penalty at the breakdown. Daisy Aspinall’s elusive running took her all the way to the try-line, edging her side in front by two points.

With 10 minutes on the clock, Linn inspired her team-mates by breaking away from a ruck, evading the clutches of Ellie Wood to romp clear and score from 60 metres out. Crotty missed the target with her kick.

The lead soon changed hands again, and although Ireland were frustrated when Hannah Clarke was taken out by a clear case of crossing, play was allowed to continue. Amelia MacDougal used the space to power over and make it 19-15.

Boote looked to have won it for the girls in green when she slipped away down the short side of a ruck, crossing the whitewash with just 10 seconds left. Hannah Clarke was short with the conversion.

However, replacement Eryn Sinkler-Bermingham had the final say for England. It was scrappy ball, but she suddenly carved her way through the middle and evaded Brogan’s last-ditch challenge to go in under the posts.

Ireland were able to bounce back in their final outing of day one at Petrovice Rugby Club. Belgium’s defence proved difficult to break down during the opening minutes, but Fitzhenry’s youngsters gradually got on top.

An injection of pace from both Brogan and O’Connor, coupled with Corrigan’s offload off the ground, sent Cooke forward O’Neill over to put Ireland on the board.

Murphy, O’Connor and O’Neill all made important tackles to prevent Belgium from hitting back, and Jone Broeks’ subsequent yellow led to the fast-breaking Lyndsay Clarke pocketing a try on the stroke of half-time.

Ireland put 21 points between the teams when Corrigan cruised clear from deep, having been invited forward by a lovely offload from Finn. The latter also supplied her third successful conversion.

With Emilie Vraux’s high tackle seeing her sin binned, it was a few phases later that Brogan and Corrigan managed to put Tuam/Oughterard’s Hannah Clarke away for the fourth Irish try.

Crotty profited from a knock-on and showed a good turn of pace to make it 33-0, before Corrigan skittled through an attempted tackle and had the legs to finish off a fine score. Crotty converted to finish the day with 19 points.

IRELAND UNDER-18 WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2023 Rugby Europe U-18 Women’s Sevens Championship, Rugby Klub Petrovice, Prague, Czechia, Saturday, July 15-Sunday, July 16):

Caitriona Finn (UL Bohemian RFC/Ballina-Killaloe RFC/Munster)
Emily Foley (Ballina RFC/Connacht)
Emma Brogan (Navan RFC/Leinster)
Hannah Clarke (Tuam/Oughterard RFC/Connacht)
Katie Corrigan (Tullow RFC/Leinster)
Lucia Linn (Loughborough University/IQ Rugby) (capt)
Lyndsay Clarke (Ennis RFC/Munster)
Molly Boote (Tuam/Oughterard RFC/Connacht)
Niamh Crotty (Dolphin RFC/Munster)
Niamh Murphy (Cill Dara RFC/Leinster)
Robyn O’Connor (Wexford Wanderers RFC/Leinster)
Tara O’Neill (Cooke RFC/Ulster)

IRELAND U-18 WOMEN’S SEVENS Schedule – Prague:

Saturday, July 15 –


IRELAND U-18s 52 POLAND U-18s 0, Rugby Klub Petrovice, Prague
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Lyndsay Clarke 2, Katie Corrigan, Hannah Clarke, Lucia Linn, Tara O’Neill, Caitriona Finn, Emily Foley; Cons: Niamh Crotty 5, Hannah Clarke
Poland: –
HT: Ireland 21 Poland 0

Watch Match Video

Team: Katie Corrigan, Lucia Linn (capt), Tara O’Neill, Emma Brogan, Niamh Crotty, Lyndsay Clarke, Hannah Clarke.

Subs used: Niamh Murphy, Emily Foley, Robyn O’Connor, Molly Boote, Caitriona Finn.

IRELAND U-18s 20 ENGLAND U-18S 26, Rugby Klub Petrovice, Prague
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Emily Foley, Molly Boote 2, Lucia Linn
England: Tries: Millie Hyett, Daisy Aspinall, Amelia MacDougal, Eryn Sinkler-Bermingham; Cons: Millie Hyett, Amelia MacDougal, Lauren Bailey
HT: Ireland 10 England 0

Watch Match Video

Team: Caitriona Finn, Molly Boote, Lucia Linn (capt), Robyn O’Connor, Niamh Crotty, Emily Foley, Hannah Clarke.

Subs used: Katie Corrigan, Emma Brogan. Not used: Tara O’Neill, Niamh Murphy, Lyndsay Clarke.


IRELAND U-18s 40 BELGIUM U-18s 0, Rugby Klub Petrovice, Prague
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Tara O’Neill, Lyndsay Clarke, Katie Corrigan 2, Hannah Clarke, Niamh Crotty; Cons: Caitriona Finn 3, Niamh Crotty 2
Belgium: Tries:
HT: Ireland 14 Belgium 0

Watch Match Video

Team: Niamh Murphy, Katie Corrigan, Tara O’Neill, Robyn O’Connor, Caitriona Finn, Emma Brogan, Lyndsay Clarke.

Subs used: Lucia Linn (capt), Hannah Clarke, Emily Foley, Niamh Crotty.

Sunday, July 16 –


FRANCE U-18s v IRELAND U-18s, Rugby Klub Petrovice, Prague, kick-off 10am local time/9am Irish time