Jump to main content


Kennedy Scores 100th SVNS Series Try As Ireland Men Claim Bronze In LA

Kennedy Scores 100th SVNS Series Try As Ireland Men Claim Bronze In LA

Kennedy Scores 100th SVNS Series Try As Ireland Men Claim Bronze In LA

Dubliner Terry Kennedy joined the HSBC SVNS Series' 100-try club on the final day of the LA 7s tournament ©INPHO/Travis Prior

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) avenged a pool defeat by Spain to take their place on another HSBC SVNS Series podium by winning bronze at the LA 7s.

Having been knocked out of Cup contention by eventual champions France for the second week running, Ireland signed off at Dignity Health Sports Park with a deserved 24-7 3rd place play-off win over Spain.

Zac Ward touched down twice to take his weekend’s haul to five tries, and Ed Kelly and Chay Mullins also crossed the whitewash, as James Topping’s side bagged their second bronze in three SVNS Series legs.

With a top five finish at each of the first five events this season, Ireland remain second in the overall SVNS Series standings, sitting on 70 points – six clear of third-placed Fiji, and 20 behind leaders Argentina – ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens in early April.

All roads lead to the Grand Final in Madrid (May 31-June 2), when the top eight-ranked teams will compete to be crowned SVNS Series champions for 2024. It is all to play for with SVNS Series rankings a key factor in determining the seedings for the Olympic Games.

While disappointed to miss out on a shot at the LA 7s Cup title, it was still a memorable tournament for Terry Kennedy. With the first of his two scores against France, he became only the third Ireland player to score 100 SVNS Series tries.

Kennedy ran in four tries across the weekend, taking his career tally to 101, and Jordan Conroy also registered a quartet of scores to improve his overall total to 117. Ireland Women’s Sevens star Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe remains well out in front on 180.

Ireland seized early control in the bronze medal decider, with Matthew McDonald’s quick feet and offload back inside sending Ward clear from halfway for a second-minute opener. Billy Dardis drilled over the conversion.

Keeping Spain inside their own half, McDonald locked onto possession at the breakdown to win a penalty. Gavin Mullin and Kelly ran hard to take play back into the Spanish 22, before Ward used his pace and power again to make it 14-0 after five minutes.

Captain Harry McNulty led a hungry Irish defence that hounded Tiago Romero into conceding a five-metre scrum. A sharp Sean Cribbin got away from Eduardo Lopez in midfield, providing the assist for Kelly to dive over in the left corner.

Into the second half, Spain regained some of the form which saw them reach the last-four. A lively few attacking phases culminated in Lopez scoring from his own tap penalty, with Francisco Cosculluela’s conversion closing the gap to 19-7.

Conroy and Kennedy were sent on from the bench, and the latter expertly drew in two defenders and offloaded for Mullins to dash clear from just outside the Irish 22. The 22-year-old had the legs on his chasers to complete a tidy team performance.

Speaking afterwards, Ward said: “We looked at the pool game and Spain put a lot of pressure onto us, and they got into the game that way. So we just looked to get on top of them early and look to implement our game-plan.

“It gives us huge confidence. We’re starting to find a way to win when we have to win. So hopefully we can keep that going all the way through to the Olympics, and we’ll be in a good place.

“Attack is night and day whenever we have Terry on the pitch. He’s a complete game-changer. Delighted for him to get his 100th (try), no better man to deserve it. He’s the GOAT.”

Earlier on, Ireland’s reward for beating Argentina in the last-eight was a rematch with France, their 12-5 quarter-final conquerors from last week in Vancouver. Kennedy and Conroy quickly combined as the Perth bronze medallists burst out of the traps.

The Tullamore man trailed Kennedy’s surging first-minute break, and just as the 2022 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year was tackled by Jordan Sepho, he got a terrific offload away for Conroy to collect and evade Antoine Dupont’s attempted tap tackle to score.

A blistering breakaway effort from Dupont saw France swiftly draw level, although a push beforehand by Paulin Riva on Cribbin was missed by the match officials.

Ireland had a stranglehold on possession as the semi-final’s first half wore on. The closest they came to scoring was when Niall Comerford was adjudged to have been tackled before getting up to cross the whitewash.

Instead it was les Bleus who led 12-7 at half-time, Rayan Rebbadj getting away down the left following Jefferson Joseph’s offload. Comerford’s missed tackle allowed French skipper Riva to immediately extend their lead just seconds after the restart.

After McNulty had taken a penalty quickly, Kennedy showed his class again by winning the race to his own kick through, brilliantly outpacing three Frenchmen in the process. It was his 22nd try of the season and his 100th of all-time.

Mark Roche narrowly missed the conversion from the right, leaving the scoreboard showing 19-14. The tries kept coming, with France’s best of the lot starting from behind their own line before Antoine Zeghdar latched onto Stephen Parez’s kick to restore the 12-point gap.

Mullin’s direct running sent the French defence backwards, and as he exploited some space on the left, his offload put fellow replacement Ward stepping inside Theo Forner for a slick response. Dardis converted from straight in front to make it 26-19.

McDonald’s breakdown smarts gave possession back to Ireland late on. They managed to match France with a fourth try past the final hooter, Kennedy going over after good work through the middle by both Mullin and McNulty.

However, there was more drama as Dardis’ conversion attempt from out wide on the right missed the target on the near side. Ireland’s fight-back fell just short in a 26-24 loss, with the French going on to beat Great Britain and win their first SVNS Series crown since 2005.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (HSBC SVNS Series – Los Angeles 7s, Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, Friday, March 1-Sunday, March 3, 2024):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Matthew McDonald (Ireland Sevens)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Gavin Mullin (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Connor O’Sullivan (Lansdowne FC)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC SVNS Series – Los Angeles:

Friday, March 1 –


IRELAND 17 SOUTH AFRICA 0, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Connor O’Sullivan, Zac Ward 2; Con: Ed Kelly
South Africa: –
HT: Ireland 17 South Africa 0

Team: Zac Ward, Connor O’Sullivan, Harry McNulty (capt), Ed Kelly, Sean Cribbin, Gavin Mullin, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Billy Dardis, Matthew McDonald, Terry Kennedy, Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins.

Day 1 Round-Up: Ireland Men Start LA 7s Campaign With Three-Try Victory

Saturday, March 2 –


IRELAND 14 SPAIN 19, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Chay Mullins; Cons: Billy Dardis, Mark Roche
Spain: Tries: Eduardo Lopez, Francisco Cosculluela, Jaime Manteca; Cons: Nicolas Nieto, Juan Ramos
HT: Ireland 7 Spain 7

Team: Chay Mullins, Niall Comerford, Harry McNulty (capt), Billy Dardis, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Gavin Mullin, Mark Roche, Connor O’Sullivan, Matthew McDonald. Not used: Ed Kelly.

ARGENTINA 26 IRELAND 14, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Argentina: Tries: Marcos Moneta, Penalty try, Santiago Alvarez, Matteo Graziano; Cons: Joaquin Pellandini, Pen try con, Tobias Wade
Ireland: Tries: Matthew McDonald, Terry Kennedy; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
HT: Argentina 14 Ireland 7

Team: Matthew McDonald, Connor O’Sullivan, Harry McNulty (capt), Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Gavin Mullin, Ed Kelly.

Replacements used: Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy, Niall Comerford, Billy Dardis, Chay Mullins.


ARGENTINA 14 IRELAND 24, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Argentina: Tries: Rodrigo Isgro, Santiago Mare; Cons: Santiago Mare, Joaquin Pellandini
Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy 2, Mark Roche; Cons: Mark Roche 2
HT: Argentina 14 Ireland 5

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins, Billy Dardis, Gavin Mullin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Mark Roche, Matthew McDonald, Connor O’Sullivan. Not used: Sean Cribbin, Ed Kelly.

Day 2 Round-Up: Ireland Men March Into LA 7s Semi-Final After Ending Argentina’s Winning Run

Sunday, March 3 –


FRANCE 26 IRELAND 24, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: France: Tries: Antoine Dupont, Rayan Rebbadj, Paulin Riva, Antoine Zeghdar; Cons: Rayan Rebbadj 3
Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy 2, Zac Ward; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
HT: France 12 Ireland 7

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Zac Ward, Matthew McDonald, Gavin Mullin, Billy Dardis, Ed Kelly.


IRELAND 24 SPAIN 7, Dignity Health Sports Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Zac Ward 2, Ed Kelly, Chay Mullins; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
Spain: Try: Eduardo Lopez; Con: Francisco Cosculluela
HT: Ireland 19 Spain 0

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Matthew McDonald, Zac Ward, Billy Dardis, Sean Cribbin, Gavin Mullin, Ed Kelly.

Replacements used: Chay Mullins, Jordan Conroy, Niall Comerford, Terry Kennedy. Not used: Mark Roche.