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Ireland Men Maintain Winning Run To Reach Hamburg’s Last-Four

Ireland Men Maintain Winning Run To Reach Hamburg’s Last-Four

Ireland Men Maintain Winning Run To Reach Hamburg’s Last-Four

Ireland's Chay Mullins dives over to score against Portugal during their final pool match at the Hamburg Sevens ©Travis Prior/Rugby Europe

The Ireland Men’s Sevens team (sponsored by TritonLake) will play Portugal for the second time this weekend when the Hamburg Sevens tournament reaches the Cup semi-final stage.

James Topping’s charges progressed to the knockout rounds as top seeds, following a 24-14 win over Portugal. They will meet the Lobos Sevens outfit again in tomorrow’s semi-finals (kick-off 10.28am Irish time – live on Rugby Europe TV), with France and hosts Germany on the other side of the draw.

Tries from Ed Kelly, Chay Mullins, Hugo Lennox, stand-in captain Mark Roche, Jordan Conroy, and Connor O’Sullivan got the job done as Ireland kept up their winning form with a 36-7 quarter-final victory over Belgium.

Giving his reaction afterwards, Conroy said: “A great way to end day two, that’s what we wanted following on from day one, and now it’s all about the semi-final tomorrow. We’ll go back, rest up, and start day three with a bit of energy.

“This is what the last two tournaments have been about, building towards the Olympics. The Rugby Europe Championship played a crucial part for us getting things right that need to be done right.

“We’re trying to focus on the things we do well in these competitions, trying to minimise what we’re doing bad. It’s very important to kind of have this last blowout – proper competition, proper tournament – before heading to the Olympics.”

Niall Comerford was prominent early on in the Pool B decider, stealing a lineout and almost scoring from Hugo Keenan’s well-weighted cross-field kick. Unfortunately he was just held up by Portugal’s Rodrigo Freudenthal.

Ireland did score from the resulting scrum, chipping away with their carries before Keenan fed Conroy to step inside Fabio Conceicao for a second-minute try which Roche converted with aplomb.

The busy Keenan also provided the assist for a second converted score. Mullins gained ground on the left, reaching the Portuguese 22, before Keenan cleverly sucked in two defenders and offloaded for Zac Ward to make it 14-0.

As Ireland continued to dicate play, Mullins dived over in the left corner with just over five minutes on the clock. Ward and Andrew Smith set up the opportunity as the Portuguese defence was stretched again on the edge of their own 22.

The sides swapped tries just before half-time, with Jose Lima dummying and accelerating through a gap to turn Portugal’s first attack into seven points. Ward plucked down Roche’s pinpoint restart kick to cruise clear and immediately cancel out that score.

Ireland’s 24-7 interval lead was cut when Vasco Durao scored from close range in the ninth minute. However, the remainder of the game was played mostly in Portuguese territory.

Smith was stopped short following his break down the right touchline, while Comerford typified Ireland’s determination to avoid leaking a late try. After winning a turnover penalty minutes earlier, he kept out Sebastiao Stilwell with a strong tackle right at the death.

It took only 23 seconds for Kelly to register Ireland’s opening try against Belgium, embarking on a 70-metre run-in as he exposed a couple of missed tackles. Scrum half Lennox swiftly tagged on the extras from straight in front.

Belgium’s progress was halted by a knock-on, and Ireland used the scrum possession to build for their second seven-pointer. Mullins raced clear from just inside the Irish half, using his quick feet to step inside two defenders initially.

Last year’s Rugby Europe Sevens champions added a third try just before the break, again using the platform of a scrum to push the Belgian defence backwards. Matthew McDonald made a neat incision before Kelly and Sean Cribbin whipped the ball wide for Lennox to dive over in the right corner.

The Skerries man topped off his try with a terrific conversion, extending the lead out to 21 points. Belgium put together a lung-busting set of phases on the restart which culminated in captain Gaspard Lalli going in under the posts.

Bryan Mollen led Ireland’s response, and although Mullins was unable to get over in the left corner, the resulting scrum saw Roche, on as a replacement, scoot around the blindside to open his try account for the weekend.

There was no way back for Belgium at 26-7 down. Off a 12th-minute scrum from further out, Conroy was released on an arcing run to the try-line, with Mullins the decoy runner. Replacement O’Sullivan showed good strength to claim a final unconverted try from a Smith pass.

You can watch all the action live from Hamburg on Rugby Europe TV here.

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2024 Rugby Europe Men’s Sevens Championship Leg 2 – Hamburg Sevens, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg, Germany, Friday, June 28-Sunday, June 30, 2024):

Niall Comerford (UCD RFC)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers RFC)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians RFC)
Hugo Keenan (UCD RFC/Leinster)
Ed Kelly (Dublin University FC)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries RFC)
Matthew McDonald (Ireland Sevens)
Bryan Mollen (UCD RFC)
Chay Mullins (Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht/IQ Rugby)
Connor O’Sullivan (Lansdowne FC)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne FC) (capt)
Andrew Smith (Clontarf FC/Connacht)
Zac Ward (Ballynahinch RFC)

IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – Hamburg Sevens, Rugby Europe Sevens Championship Leg 2:

Friday, June 28 –


IRELAND 43 CROATIA 0, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Niall Comerford, Bryan Mollen 2, Chay Mullins, Andrew Smith, Hugo Keenan, Sean Cribbin; Cons: Mark Roche 2, Sean Cribbin 2
Croatia: –
HT: Ireland 19 Croatia 0

Watch Match Replay

Team: Bryan Mollen, Niall Comerford, Matthew McDonald, Mark Roche (capt), Sean Cribbin, Chay Mullins, Jordan Conroy.

Replacements used: Hugo Keenan, Andrew Smith, Connor O’Sullivan, Ed Kelly, Zac Ward.

IRELAND 43 BELGIUM 7, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Lennox 2, Hugo Keenan, Connor O’Sullivan, Ed Kelly 2, Niall Comerford; Cons: Hugo Lennox 2, Sean Cribbin 2
Belgium: Try: Ryan Godsmark; Con: Ryan Godsmark
HT: Ireland 19 Belgium 7

Watch Match Replay

Team: Zac Ward, Connor O’Sullivan, Andrew Smith, Hugo Lennox, Hugo Keenan, Bryan Mollen, Ed Kelly.

Replacements used: Sean Cribbin, Jordan Conroy, Matthew McDonald, Niall Comerford, Chay Mullins.

Day 1 Round-Up: Ireland Men Build First Day Momentum At Hamburg Sevens

Saturday, June 29 –


IRELAND 24 PORTUGAL 14, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Zac Ward 2, Chay Mullins; Cons: Mark Roche 2
Portugal: Tries: Jose Lima, Vasco Durao; Cons: Manuel Vareiro 2
HT: Ireland 24 Portugal 7

Watch Match Replay

Team: Zac Ward, Niall Comerford, Andrew Smith, Mark Roche (capt), Hugo Keenan, Chay Mullins, Jordan Conroy.

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


IRELAND 36 BELGIUM 7, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Ed Kelly, Chay Mullins, Hugo Lennox, Mark Roche, Jordan Conroy, Connor O’Sullivan; Cons: Hugo Lennox 3
Portugal: Try: Gaspard Lalli; Con: Simeon Soenen
HT: Ireland 21 Belgium 0

Watch Match Replay

Team: Bryan Mollen, Connor O’Sullivan, Matthew McDonald, Hugo Lennox, Sean Cribbin, Chay Mullins, Ed Kelly.

Replacements used: Jordan Conroy, Mark Roche, Zac Ward, Andrew Smith. Not used: Niall Comerford.

Sunday, June 30 –


IRELAND v PORTUGAL, Sportpark Steinwiesenweg, Hamburg, 11.28am local time/10.28am Irish time