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Hat-Trick Hero Kennedy Keeps Ireland Men In Hong Kong Hunt

Hat-Trick Hero Kennedy Keeps Ireland Men In Hong Kong Hunt

Hat-Trick Hero Kennedy Keeps Ireland Men In Hong Kong Hunt

Terry Kennedy scores from his own kick through to seal Ireland's passage through to the Cup semi-finals in Hong Kong ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

Terry Kennedy gave the Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) a taste of golden point glory as his 17th-minute try earned a 24-19 Cup quarter-final win over the USA in Hong Kong.

Having led on three occasions during normal time, Ireland prevailed during extra-time with the quicksilver Kennedy winning the race to his own kick through to complete a classy hat-trick against the Eagles.

The US outfit were brimming with confidence after beating HSBC SVNS Series leaders Argentina on day one. Ireland had to show their battling qualities as Kevon Williams (2) and Aaron Cummings cancelled out scores from Kennedy (2) and Zac Ward.

Ireland coach James Topping emptied his bench, and a full squad effort paid off as they qualified for their fourth Cup semi-final in five tournaments.

The bronze medallists from the Perth and Los Angeles legs will play France in the last-four tomorrow (kick-off 1.40pm local time/6.40am Irish time). The European rivals met at this stage in LA last month, with les Bleus winning 26-24.

You can watch all of the HSBC SVNS Series matches for free on RugbyPass TV or on TNT Sports, while there is coverage of Ireland’s progress in Hong Kong across the @Ireland7s social media channels, and in our Ireland Sevens Hub.

Kennedy has led the try-scoring for the men in green in Hong Kong, crossing four times to take his season’s haul to 27 tries in 32 matches. He is just behind Argentinian star Marcos Moneta (29), with strong-running forward Ward (21 tries in 27 games) not far behind them.

Lying second in the overall SVNS Series standings, Ireland, who beat Spain 12-5 to advance this morning as Pool C runners-up, will make up some ground on Argentina who failed to reach Hong Kong’s last-eight.

Captain Harry McNulty led a disciplined defensive effort early on against Spain, tackling Alejandro Laforga into touch to end almost two minutes of Spanish possession. Ireland soon lifted the tempo in attack, with Kennedy and Mark Roche both going quickly from penalties.

With Spain suddenly looking exposed inside their own 22, Ward almost put Ed Kelly away with an offload. Kennedy was also denied by a try-saving tackle from Spanish skipper Eduardo Lopez, who backed it up with a turnover penalty.

Los Leones Sevens paid the price for missing touch, however, as Matthew McDonald quickly took Ireland back into the opposition 22. Kennedy ran hard off another penalty before he combined with McNulty to send Kelly scampering over to the right of the posts.

Scrum half Roche’s conversion split the sides at the break, with Spain getting off the mark past the half-time hooter. They swarmed through from a penalty and Laforga dummied his way over to pull back five points.

Ireland dominated possession from the restart, taking Spain through the phases with replacement Zac McConnell, fresh from his debut yesterday, making a break. Try scorer Laforga leaked a penalty.

Manu Moreno came up trumps defensively for Spain, winning a decision at the breakdown and then holding up McConnell after Hugo Lennox’s terrific regathering of his own kick at pace.

Nonetheless, the resulting five-metre scrum saw Lennox release Gavin Mullin to the right and he stepped inside Josep Serres’ challenge to scramble over for what proved to be a match-winning 12th-minute score.

Although Ireland lost McConnell to the sin bin for a tip tackle on Tobias Sainz-Trapaga, their six-man defensive line held Spain out. Bryan Mollen, Sean Cribbin, and Mullin all made important tackles before Anton Legorburu knocked on out on the right wing.

Into the knockout rounds, and with fellow danger man Jordan Conroy not involved this weekend, Kennedy stepped up to signal Ireland’s intent with a terrific try against the USA after barely a minute.

From a scrum on the opposite wing, Mullin fed Kennedy in midfield and he got on the outside of Malacchi Esdale before putting on the afterburners to score in the right corner past Perry Baker.

USA captain Williams showed his speed by scoring straight from a fourth-minute scrum on halfway. Madison Hughes’ conversion gave the Eagles a brief 7-5 lead, before Kennedy and Ward combined for an ideal Irish response.

A switch play brought the big Ballynahinch forward in off the right wing and he powered through two missed tackles to raid in under the posts. Despite Roche’s conversion, there was still time for the USA to tie things up at the interval.

Williams was prominent in a pacy attack, sucking in a couple of defenders for Cummings to score on the left and make it 12-all. Kennedy’s footballing skills then nudged Ireland back in front with 10 minutes on the clock.

The St. Mary’s College speedster dinked a kick through from 30 metres out, turning the defence and outpacing both Esdale and Joe Schroeder. His nimble grounding of the ball under the posts gave Roche a second straightforward conversion.

A jinking Williams evaded the clutches of Cribbin for another impressive run-in. The extras from Hughes had the scoreboard showing 19-all, and Kennedy had to be on his toes to snuff out one final chance for Baker. That set up the first-score-wins scenario in extra-time.

Three minutes in, Kennedy had to turn to collect Lennox’s pass off a scrum on the American 22-metre line, but his sudden kick chase caught the defence out again, as he darted past the cover and beat Hughes to touch the ball down in front of the iconic South Stand.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2024 HSBC SVNS Series – Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Hong Kong Stadium, Friday, April 5-Sunday, April 7, 2024):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Zac McConnell (Ireland Sevens) *
Matthew McDonald (Ireland Sevens)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC)
Gavin Mullin (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

* Denotes uncapped player

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC SVNS Series – Hong Kong:

Friday, April 5 –


IRELAND 17 SOUTH AFRICA 22, Hong Kong Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Zac Ward, Bryan Mollen, Niall Comerford; Con: Hugo Lennox
South Africa: Tries: Shilton van Wyk, Dewald Human, Quewin Nortje, Ryan Oosthuizen; Con: Dewald Human
HT: Ireland 0 South Africa 17

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

Replacements used: Terry Kennedy, Bryan Mollen, Niall Comerford, Hugo Lennox, Chay Mullins.

IRELAND 12 SAMOA 7, Hong Kong Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy, Zac Ward; Con: Mark Roche
Samoa: Try: Motu Opetai; Con: Neueli Leitufia
HT: Ireland 0 Samoa 7

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Zac McConnell.

Replacements used: Mark Roche, Bryan Mollen, Gavin Mullin, Chay Mullins. Not used: Ed Kelly.

Day 1 Round-Up: Ireland Men Overhaul Samoa To Sit Second In Hong Kong Pool

Saturday, April 6 –


IRELAND 12 SPAIN 5, Hong Kong Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Ed Kelly, Gavin Mullin; Con: Mark Roche
Spain: Try: Alejandro Laforga
HT: Ireland 7 Spain 5

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Matthew McDonald, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Sean Cribbin, Terry Kennedy, Ed Kelly.

Replacements used: Gavin Mullin, Zac McConnell, Hugo Lennox, Niall Comerford, Bryan Mollen.


USA 19 IRELAND 24, Hong Kong Stadium
Scorers: USA: Tries: Kevon Williams 2, Aaron Cummings; Cons: Madison Hughes 2
Ireland: Tries: Terry Kennedy 3, Zac Ward; Cons: Mark Roche 2
HT: USA 12 Ireland 12

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Niall Comerford, Zac Ward, Mark Roche, Gavin Mullin, Terry Kennedy, Zac McConnell.

Replacements used: Bryan Mollen, Ed Kelly, Sean Cribbin, Matthew McDonald, Hugo Lennox.