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Ireland Women Close Out SVNS Season With Sixth Place Finish

Ireland Women Close Out SVNS Season With Sixth Place Finish

Ireland Women Close Out SVNS Season With Sixth Place Finish

Stacey Flood reaches out to score during Ireland's 5th place semi-final victory over Great Britain in Madrid ©INPHO/Martin Seras Lima

Stand-in captain Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Stacey Flood played central roles as the Ireland Women’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) finished sixth at the HSBC SVNS Grand Final in Madrid.

It is a jump of one place from their SVNS Series campaign, the highpoint of which was the historic Perth title win, but with regular skipper Lucy Rock still working her way back from injury, it was Murphy Crowe who led by example in the Spanish sunshine.

The Tipperary speedster touched down in all five of Ireland’s games, scoring seven tries in all to take her season’s haul to 33, and her superb SVNS Series career total to 197 in 228 matches.

Along with Murphy Crowe’s try-scoring form, there were further positives this weekend with the 18-year-old Katie Corrigan winning her first senior Sevens cap, and Athlone native Anna McGann also made her long-awaited return after rupturing her ACL last year.

Unconverted scores from Flood (2), Murphy Crowe, and Eve Higgins steered Allan Temple-Jones’ side to a 20-0 win over Great Britain this morning, before they gave the fourth-ranked USA a tough encounter in the 5th place play-off, which they eventually lost 27-14.

Ahead of the Ireland Women’s eagerly-awaited Olympic debut in Paris next month, they will contest the Rugby Europe Sevens Championship with the opening leg in Croatia’s Makarska next weekend, and the final leg pencilled in for Hamburg on June 28-30.

Although Flood miscued the kick-off, Ireland’s defence stood up to Great Britain’s early efforts to break it down. Erin King added to her growing collection of turnover penalties, and she was also first to a breaking ball off a lineout.

The girls in green won a scrum against the head, and Flood and Emily Lane connected well to bring play up towards the GB 10-metre line. Lane and King continued to be prominent as they went quickly from a scrum penalty, and the breakthrough score arrived, six minutes in.

Murphy Crowe conceded ground with a fumble and a penalty, but Béibhinn Parsons intercepted a midfield pass, offloading for Megan Burns to link with Flood who took off from almost 60 metres out and had the speed and strength to score despite Ellie Boatman’s last-ditch tackle.

Flood doubled the lead to 10-0 by half-time, stretching out of another tackle – this time from Isla Norman-Bell – after the Dubliner’s clever initial footwork and burst of pace to open up the defence again.

Flood turned provider just seconds after the restart, as she collected possession and turned neatly, away from Jade Shekells, to launch Murphy Crowe on a rousing 80-metre run-in where she outpaced Amy Wilson Hardy for the line.

Ireland did lose Parsons to the sin bin, following her attempted tackle which resulted in a deliberate knock-on. They boxed clever while down to six players, and Lane hounded Norman-Bell into an error at a fiercely-contested scrum.

Wilson Hardy’s counter-rucking lifted a GB side that contained two of England’s recent Grand Slam winners, Ellie Kildunne and Megan Jones, as well as Welsh flyer Jasmine Joyce.

Ireland’s defence continued to be sharper as the clock ticked down, allowing Parsons to threaten from a knock-on, and then eager replacement McGann did well to win a penalty at the breakdown.

Kate Farrell McCabe, who had slotted in at scrum half after starting in the forwards, used a scrum free-kick to put Higgins sidestepping around Kayleigh Powell for a slick closing try from halfway, with Farrell McCabe’s conversion going narrowly wide.

Ireland were playing catch-up early on against the USA, in what was the sides’ first encounter since a Perth pool match in January. Flood’s sin-binning for what was deemed a deliberate knock-on freed up space for Ariana Ramsey to open the scoring.

The US doubled their lead through the same player, following good work from Sarah Levy at the restart. Lane was well supported by King as Ireland won the next restart, allowing them to build some phases with Flood back on the field.

They gradually wore the American defence down, with Burns and Murphy Crowe initially making good metres, and then Lane’s inviting switch play sent her skipper ghosting through a gap to score at the posts. Flood converted for a 10-7 scoreline.

Despite losing King to the bin at the restart, as she challenged Levy in the air, Temple-Jones’ charges finished the opening half on the front foot. They tapped two penalties and Flood dangled a kick through that Murphy Crowe just knocked on in the scramble.

Frustratingly, Ireland allowed Ramsey over for a soft score in the ninth minute, the fleet-footed winger scooping up a loose ball and taking advantage of some missed tackles to push the lead out to eight points – 15-7.

Higgins provided the spark again off the Irish bench, taking the direct route from halfway to surge in between two defenders, and she had the pace to crash over ahead of the chasing Alex Sedrick. Flood split the posts to make it a one-point game with three minutes remaining.

Unfortunately for the vocal Ireland support in the stands, that was as close as they got. The USA regained control of the scoreboard thanks to a breakaway effort from Ramsey, which Kayla Canett converted, and then Alev Kelter sniped over from the right wing in the last minute.

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Squad (2024 HSBC SVNS Grand Final – Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid, Friday, May 31-Sunday, June 2, 2024):

Megan Burns (Blackrock College RFC)
Katie Corrigan (Old Belvedere RFC) *
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC) (capt)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC)
Erin King (Old Belvedere RFC)
Vicky Elmes Kinlan (Wicklow RFC)
Emily Lane (Blackrock College RFC)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)
Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC)
Ashleigh Orchard (Cooke RFC)
Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC)

* Denotes uncapped player

IRELAND WOMEN’S SEVENS Schedule – HSBC SVNS Grand Final – Madrid:

Friday, May 31 –


AUSTRALIA 33 IRELAND 14, Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Teagan Levi 2, Charlotte Caslick, Maddison Levi 2; Cons: Tia Hinds 3, Teagn Levi
Ireland: Tries: Eve Higgins, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe; Cons: Stacey Flood 2
HT: Australia 14 Ireland 14

Team: Béibhinn Parsons, Erin King, Eve Higgins, Emily Lane, Stacey Flood, Megan Burns, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (capt).

Replacements used: Aoibheann Reilly, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Ashleigh Orchard. Not used: Kate Farrell McCabe, Anna McGann.

Day 1 Round-Up: Yellow Card Proves Costly As Ireland Women Lose Madrid Opener

Saturday, June 1 –


FRANCE 31 IRELAND 5, Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid
Scorers: France: Tries: Alycia Christiaens 2, Yolaine Yengo, Seraphine Okemba 2; Cons: Yolaine Yengo 2, Montserrat Amedee
Ireland: Try: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe
HT: France 10 Ireland 5

Team: Béibhinn Parsons, Erin King, Eve Higgins, Emily Lane, Stacey Flood, Megan Burns, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (capt).

Replacements used: Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Aoibheann Reilly, Kate Farrell McCabe, Anna McGann, Katie Corrigan.

FIJI 19 IRELAND 26, Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid
Scorers: Fiji: Tries: Ilisapeci Delaiwau, Lavena Cavuru, Ana Maria Naimasi; Cons: Lavena Cavuru 2
Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 3, Béibhinn Parsons; Cons: Stacey Flood 3
HT: Fiji 12 Ireland 19

Team: Béibhinn Parsons, Ashleigh Orchard, Erin King, Emily Lane, Stacey Flood, Megan Burns, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (capt).

Replacements used: Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Eve Higgins, Katie Corrigan. Not used: Kate Farrell McCabe, Anna McGann.

Day 2 Round-Up: Murphy Crowe Floors Fiji With Classy Hat-Trick In Madrid Heat

Sunday, June 2 –


IRELAND 20 GREAT BRITAIN 0, Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Stacey Flood 2, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins
Great Britain: –
HT: Ireland 10 Great Britain 0

Team: Béibhinn Parsons, Kate Farrell McCabe, Erin King, Emily Lane, Stacey Flood, Megan Burns, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (capt).

Replacements used: Eve Higgins, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Anna McGann, Katie Corrigan. Not used: Ashleigh Orchard.

IRELAND 14 USA 27, Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins; Cons: Stacey Flood 2
USA: Tries: Ariana Ramsey 4, Alev Kelter; Con: Kayla Canett
HT: Ireland 7 USA 10

Team: Béibhinn Parsons, Ashleigh Orchard, Erin King, Emily Lane, Stacey Flood, Megan Burns, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (capt).

Replacements used: Eve Higgins, Anna McGann, Vicky Elmes Kinlan, Kate Farrell McCabe, Katie Corrigan.