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Ireland Men Sit Second In Singapore Sevens Pool

Ireland Men Sit Second In Singapore Sevens Pool

Ireland Men Sit Second In Singapore Sevens Pool

Ireland Sevens debutant Josh Costello takes on USA captain Kevon Williams during the Pool C match at the Singapore National Stadium ©INPHO/Joe Hamby

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) kicked off their Singapore Sevens campaign with a three-try win over Great Britain, coupled with a losing bonus point from a titanic tussle with the USA.

James Topping’s charges sit second in Pool C, two points behind the US Eagles, and will be eager to bounce back from that 10-7 defeat when they face Fiji tomorrow at Singapore’s spectacular dome-shaped National Stadium.

The Harry McNulty-led team, who are back in action on Saturday at 1.37pm local time/6.37am Irish time, got the better of Britain in their pool opener, winning 19-5 thanks to tries from Mark Roche, Gavin Mullin, and Chay Mullins.

Terry Kennedy’s 29th try of this season’s HSBC SVNS Series saw Ireland hit the front against the USA, but scores from captain Kevon Williams and Perry Baker, either side of half-time, ultimately proved decisive.

Shannon youngster Josh Costello (21) stepped up for his Ireland Sevens debut as a starter against the US, and Aaron O’Sullivan made his seasonal bow in the forwards, getting through a lot of work alongside McNulty, and Connor O’Sullivan, who is playing at his sixth SVNS Series leg.

Series leaders Argentina hold an eight-point cushion over second-placed Ireland, but with an inferior points difference, Topping’s men need los Pumas Sevens to fail to qualify for the Cup quarter-finals tomorrow, and then progress to the semi-finals themselves if they are to claim the league title in the Lion City.

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 Singapore across the @Ireland7s social media channels, and in our Ireland Sevens Hub.

Britain put a lot of width on the ball early on, keen to respond to the USA’s 33-14 triumph over Fiji in the previous match. Roche hauled down Max McFarland a few metres out, and the former Clontarf winger was pinged for an extra roll.

Strong carries from both Connor and Aaron O’Sullivan saw Ireland reach the opposition 22 for the first time, three minutes in. They flooded out to the right where Jordan Conroy was held up short, before Roche barrelled into a tackle from Alex Davis and spun free to score.

Despite missing the difficult conversion, Roche found grass with his restart kick to pin the GB team back. Their lineout malfunctioned with Robbie Fergusson’s throw going out the back, and Mullin clinically collected it on the bounce to crash over.

Roche’s well-struck conversion gave Ireland a 12-0 half-time lead, with a late surge for the line from Ethan Waddleton ended by Conroy’s tackle, and Connor O’Sullivan’s impact at the breakdown to force a penalty.

Penalties were proving costly for Britain, drawing Ireland back into try-scoring range. Kennedy took one quickly, linking with Billy Dardis and captain McNulty whose well-timed offload sent replacement Mullins striding in behind the posts.

Dardis’ right boot pushed the margin out to 19 points within just over three minutes remaining. Charlton Kerr stepped in off his right to pull back five points, but it was only a consolation score as another knock-on and a penalty gave Ireland a relatively comfortable finish.

Giving his reaction afterwards, try-scoring scrum half Roche said: “We got it done. We always knew it would be tough. We’ve had close encounters with GB, and I think the best thing was we kept them out at the end there. Really happy.

“If you lose your first game, you’re under a bit of pressure to maybe to get out of the group – you have to win your next game. So we got a little bit of pressure off our backs, but we’ve still got good teams in the group to go against.

“We would have been a bit happier with more linespeed (in defence), a bit more controlling GB in the first half. They had us a little bit in attack and just kept making ground, so next game we’ll try and sort that out.”

The first breakdown between Ireland and the USA was ferociously contested, and the game continued in that vein. Winger Costello got some early touches out wide on the right, and the deadlock was broken in blistering fashion by Kennedy.

Off a second-minute scrum on the right, Dardis fed the St. Mary’s College clubman who darted into midfield and surged in between Naima Fuala’au and Lucas Lacamp, leaving them trailing in his wake for an excellent individual score, converted by Dardis.

Aaron O’Sullivan did well in defence, forcing a knock-on from Lacamp, and Costello got a chance to stretch his legs in attack. The US won back-to-back penalties before the unfortunate Joe Schroeder had to be taken off due to injury.

His loss appeared to inspire his team-mates, with the Eagles enjoying their best spell of first half possession late on. Williams fed Baker and took a return pass to cross from close range.

With their lead cut to 7-5 at the break, Ireland failed to gather Fuala’au’s restart, and the US worked the ball wide for speed merchant Baker to get past Jack Kelly on the outside and touch down in the right corner.

This time McNulty and his team-mates were able to control possession from the restart. Conroy, on as a replacement, brought them back them into the American 22, but the defence won out thanks to Steve Tomasin intercepting an offload from Kennedy.

In response, Conroy’s attempt at breaking up a US attack saw him penalised for a deliberate knock-on, resulting in a yellow card. Six-man Ireland battled hard to ensure the Tullamore flyer got back on the pitch, over a minute past the full-time gong.

Crucially, Ireland could not make further inroads from a scrum just inside the American half, and skipper McNulty was penalised for side-entry at a ruck, allowing Mike Friday’s side to go two-from-two on day one.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2024 HSBC SVNS Series – Singapore Sevens, Singapore National Stadium, Friday, May 3-Sunday, May 5, 2024):

Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Josh Costello (Shannon RFC) *
Billy Dardis (Terenure College RFC)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary’s College RFC)
Zac McConnell (Ireland Sevens)
Harry McNulty (UCD RFC) (capt)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC)
Gavin Mullin (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Aaron O’Sullivan (Blackrock College RFC)
Connor O’Sullivan (Lansdowne FC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC)

* Denotes uncapped player

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC SVNS Series – Singapore:

Friday, May 3 –


IRELAND 19 GREAT BRITAIN 5, Singapore National Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Mark Roche, Gavin Mullin, Chay Mullins; Cons: Mark Roche, Billy Dardis
Great Britain: Try: Charlton Kerr
HT: Ireland 12 Great Britain 0

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Connor O’Sullivan, Aaron O’Sullivan, Mark Roche, Gavin Mullin, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Jack Kelly, Chay Mullins, Billy Dardis, Bryan Mollen, Zac McConnell.

IRELAND 7 USA 10, Singapore National Stadium
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Terry Kennedy; Con: Billy Dardis
USA: Tries: Kevon Williams, Perry Baker
HT: Ireland 7 USA 5

Team: Harry McNulty (capt), Connor O’Sullivan, Aaron O’Sullivan, Billy Dardis, Bryan Mollen, Terry Kennedy, Josh Costello.

Replacements used: Jack Kelly, Jordan Conroy, Gavin Mullin, Mark Roche. Not used: Chay Mullins.

Saturday, May 4 –


IRELAND v FIJI, Singapore National Stadium, 1.37pm local time/6.37am Irish time


Sunday, May 5 –