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Debutants Contribute Tries For Ireland Men In Makarska

Debutants Contribute Tries For Ireland Men In Makarska

Debutants Contribute Tries For Ireland Men In Makarska

Garryowen's Nick Greene is pictured in action for the Ireland Men against tournament hosts Croatia ©Rugby Europe/Neil Kennedy

James Dillon, JJ Kenny, and Nick Greene got amongst the tries as the Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) went unbeaten on day one of the Makarska Sevens in Croatia.

Ireland Sevens coach Sam Myers took charge of the much-changed side, captained by the experienced Bryan Mollen, and they posted a 42-0 win over hosts Croatia before drawing 12-all with Germany.

The final Pool A positions will be confirmed tomorrow when Ireland face a physical Georgia outfit (kick-off 2.28pm local time/1.28pm Irish time – live on www.rugbyeurope.tv), before Germany, who agonisingly missed out on HSBC SVNS Series qualification, play Croatia.

Having featured at the SVNS Grand Final in Madrid last weekend, Hugo Keenan, Hugo Lennox, and Andrew Smith are part of the squad in Makarska, but only Smith was involved in the opening games.

Connor O’Sullivan ripped the ball back for an early turnover against Croatia, and the home side quickly conceded as Zac McConnell tapped a subsequent penalty, using a dummy and deft sidestep to get in behind the posts.

Willed on by the home support, the Croatians did advance within reach of the Irish 22 until Mollen forced a turnover. Debutant Greene ran well from deep, feeding an inside pass to release O’Sullivan for a run-in to the posts from just inside the Irish half.

Dublin University speedster Dillon, another newcomer at this level, made an immediate impact off the bench. He helped to secure possession from the restart and then nipped over to make it 21-0, following another strong carry from Greene.

Dillon was pulled back for a forward pass from Mollen, before he combined with Josh Costello to thwart a promising Croatian attack. Indeed, it was the lively Trinity winger who got the scoreboard moving again in the 11th minute.

Dillon broke with pace from deep and bounced up out of Nikola Pavlovic’s tap tackle to touch down just beside the posts. Ed Kelly knocked over his third conversion, and Kenny got on the scoresheet soon after, raiding over from the left via a Greene pass.

Smith showed his defensive skills to cover well out wide, and although Croatia retained possession, the Connacht winger drew a knock-on from Marin Vlajcevic, allowing McConnell to canter over untouched for the sixth and final try which Kelly converted.

Germany came to Croatia with the same squad that competed at the SVNS Series Qualifier event in Madrid. That continuity was evident early on when they sprung Ben Ellermann over for a try in the right corner.

Ireland hit back in swift fashion, with Smith making good ground in the middle before McConnell put pace on the ball out wide, sending Greene charging away from both Ellermann and Felix Hufnagel to score from halfway.

Ed Kelly converted and it was his run which drew a penalty in the lead up to O’Sullivan’s late try before the interval. Greene won the lineout and a quick transfer saw O’Sullivan barrel his way over to make it 12-5.

Ireland dictated play from the restart with Costello showing his speed and athleticism to race downfield and collect a kick from Mollen. Dillon tested the defence further before O’Sullivan had a try ruled out for an apparent knock-on, under pressure from Max Heid.

Germany clawed back a good chunk of territory, profiting from knock-ons from Costello and Smith. From a scrum in the Irish 22, they attacked out to the right and replacement Jakob Dipper was able to crash over in the 13th minute.

It was enough for a share of the spoils in the end as Niklas Koch converted, leaving both sides on five points at the top of the table. The top eight teams across the three pools qualify for the quarter-finals, and will be ranked in order to decide the match-ups.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2024 Rugby Europe Men’s Sevens Championship Leg 1 – Makarska Sevens, City Sports Centre, Makarska, Croatia, Friday, June 7-Sunday, June 9, 2024):

Josh Costello (Shannon RFC)
James Dillon (Dublin University FC) *
Nick Greene (Garryowen FC) *
Hugo Keenan (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Jack Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University (FC)
JJ Kenny (Ireland Sevens) *
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Zac McConnell (Ireland Sevens)
Matthew McDonald (Ireland Sevens)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC) (capt)
Connor O’Sullivan (Lansdowne FC)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Connacht)

* Denotes uncapped player

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – Makarska Sevens, Rugby Europe Sevens Championship Leg 1:

Friday, June 7 –


IRELAND 42 CROATIA 0, City Sports Centre, Makarska
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Zac McConnell 2, Connor O’Sullivan, James Dillon, JJ Kenny; Cons: Ed Kelly 5, Bryan Mollen
Croatia: –
HT: Ireland 21 Croatia 0

Watch Match Replay

Team: Nick Greene, Connor O’Sullivan, Matthew McDonald, Ed Kelly, Bryan Mollen (capt), Zac McConnell, Josh Costello.

Replacements used: James Dillon, JJ Kenny, Andrew Smith. Not used: Hugo Lennox.

IRELAND 12 GERMANY 12, City Sports Centre, Makarska
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Nick Greene, Connor O’Sullivan; Con: Ed Kelly
Germany: Tries: Ben Ellermann, Jakob Dipper; Con: Niklas Koch
HT: Ireland 12 Germany 5

Watch Match Replay

Team: Nick Greene, Andrew Smith, Matthew McDonald, Ed Kelly, Bryan Mollen (capt), Zac McConnell, Josh Costello.

Replacements used: Connor O’Sullivan, James Dillon, JJ Kenny.

Saturday, June 8 –


IRELAND v GEORGIA, City Sports Centre, Makarska, kick-off 2.28pm local time/1.28pm Irish time


Sunday, June 9 –