Jump to main content


O’Sullivan Hat-Trick The Highlight For Ireland U-18 Men’s Sevens Team

O’Sullivan Hat-Trick The Highlight For Ireland U-18 Men’s Sevens Team

O’Sullivan Hat-Trick The Highlight For Ireland U-18 Men’s Sevens Team

Johnny O'Sullivan scored three tries for the Ireland Under-18 Men's Sevens team during their opening game against Romania in Strasbourg ©Travis Prior/Rugby Europe

A Johnny O’Sullivan hat-trick was the highlight for the Ireland Under-18 Men’s Sevens team on the opening day of the Rugby Europe U-18 Men’s Sevens Championship in Strasbourg.

O’Sullivan’s trio of scores helped the Ireland U-18 Men to carve out a runaway 38-0 win over Romania, but a disappointing performance in their second outing saw them lose 24-0 to Lithuania.

The focus now turns to tomorrow’s crunch clash with Germany (kick-off 12.06pm Irish time – live on the Rugby Europe YouTube channel). Cup quarter-final places are up for grabs with the Germans currently leading Pool B on six points, two clear of Lithuania and Ireland.

Blackrock College flyer O’Sullivan showed a clean pair of heels to the Romanian defence, as Kieran Hurrell’s youngsters got their European campaign off to an encouraging start.

Under the unforgiving midday sun, the team, led by captain Hamish Milhench, had some initial defending to do with Jack Deegan covering a tricky kick near his own try-line.

Shortly afterwards, a Daragh O’Dwyer kick downfield, coupled with a turnover penalty, gave Ireland the attacking platform. Conall Cournane scooped a pass out wide for O’Sullivan to outpace the cover and make it 7-0.

Another penalty paved the way for the second Irish try, almost five minutes in. Deegan’s strong carry did some damage before Iveragh Eagles’ Michael O’Sullivan (pictured below) took a quick tap, stepped inside one defender and crashed over past two more.

12-0 became 24-0 by half-time with back-to-back tries approaching the interval. Athy clubman Deegan scored from just inside the Irish half, using a neat sidestep, hand-off, and burst of accelaration to go in under the posts and add the conversion himself.

Cournane then hoovered up O’Dwyer’s short restart, with Michael O’Sullivan taking on the defence on the right and feeding Johnny O’Sullivan for a 25-metre run-in to the corner.

The latter completed his hat-trick early in the second half, pouncing on a loose ball near halfway to break clear. Cournane converted for a 31-0 lead, as Hurrell and assistant coach Michael Hodge began to utilise the bench.

Romania launched a kick chase, but replacement Nathan Bottomley made sure he was first to the bouncing ball. Indeed, it was IQ Rugby recruit Bottomley who had the final say scoring-wise, with a well-crafted sixth try during the last minute.

Freddie Bracken-Smith took a tap penalty to launch a crisp move, over 60 metres out. Michael O’Sullivan’s straight line had him slicing through the middle, and he offloaded for Bottomley to dodge a tackle, throw a dummy, and dart in under the posts.

Lithuania, who had lost 28-5 to Germany, were next up in the second round. An excellent offload from Michael O’Sullivan released Cal Traynor Russell on the left but he was forced into touch by Zanas Dambrauskas.

Despite Billy Blair racing back to bring down Robertas Petrosius Prado with a try-saving tackle, a subsequent turnover saw the Lithuanians open the scoring. Justas Grigalaitis dashed over out wide in the third minute.

Grigalaitis picked up a turnover to launch his side forward again, and they extended their lead in the sixth minute. Alanas Aleksanian wriggled out of a tackle from Ivor Fenton, who had been defending well, and broke free to give Ignas Keraminas a simple conversion.

It got worse for Ireland past the half-time hooter as Keraminas caught out the Irish defence on the near side, floating a long skip pass out for Mindaugas Alekna to speed in behind the posts. Keraminas’ conversion made it 19-0.

Alekna completed his brace inside 90 seconds of the restart, as Aleksanian beat Michael O’Sullivan’s tackle and offloaded away from Milhench for his winger to seal a deserved victory for Justinas Vasiliauskas’ charges.

A knock-on prevented Milhench from opening the Irish account, and another offload – this time from the newly-introduced Cournane – failed to work out on halfway. Johnny O’Sullivan also knocked on a pass from Deegan outside the Lithuanian 22.

You can follow the action on the Rugby Europe website here.

IRELAND UNDER-18 MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2024 Rugby Europe U-18 Men’s Sevens Championship, Strasbourg Alsace Rugby, Strasbourg, France, Friday, July 5-Sunday, July 7, 2024):

1. Hamish Milhench (Dulwich College/Harlequins/IQ Rugby) (capt)
2. Ivor Fenton (Kilkenny College/Leinster)
3. Eoin Conlon (CBS Mullingar/Mullingar RFC/Leinster)
4. Conall Cournane (Coláiste na Sceilge/Iveragh Eagles RFC/Munster)
5. Daragh O’Dwyer (Gonzaga College/Leinster)
6. Jack Deegan (Cistercian College Roscrea/Athy RFC/Leinster)
7. Johnny O’Sullivan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
8. Michael O’Sullivan (Blackrock College/Iveragh Eagles RFC/Munster)
9. Cal Traynor Russell (CBC Monkstown/Leinster)
10. Freddie Bracken-Smith (Eton College/Saracens/IQ Rugby)
11. Nathan Bottomley (St. Paul’s School, London/IQ Rugby)
12. Billy Blair (St. Joseph’s College, Sydney/IQ Rugby)
13. Daniel Ryan (St. Michael’s College/Leinster)

IRELAND U-18 MEN’S SEVENS Schedule – Rugby Europe U-18 Men’s Sevens Championship, Strasbourg, France:

Friday, July 5 –


IRELAND 38 ROMANIA 0, Stade de Hautepierre, Strasbourg
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Johnny O’Sullivan 3, Michael O’Sullivan, Jack Deegan, Nathan Bottomley; Cons: Daragh O’Dwyer, Jack Deegan, Conall Cournane, Nathan Bottomley
Romania: –
HT: Ireland 24 Romania 0

Team: Hamish Milhench (capt), Eoin Conlon, Michael O’Sullivan, Conall Cournane, Daragh O’Dwyer, Jack Deegan, Johnny O’Sullivan.

Replacements used: Nathan Bottomley, Ivor Fenton, Freddie Bracken-Smith, Cal Traynor Russell, Billy Blair.

IRELAND 0 LITHUANIA 24, Stade de Hautepierre, Strasbourg
Scorers: Ireland: –
Lithuania: Tries: Justas Grigalaitis, Alanas Aleksanian, Mindaugas Alekna; Cons: Ignas Keraminas 2
HT: Ireland 0 Lithuania 19

Team: Cal Traynor Russell, Nathan Bottomley, Michael O’Sullivan, Freddie Bracken-Smith, Daragh O’Dwyer, Ivor Fenton, Billy Blair.

Replacements used: Hamish Milhench (capt), Johnny O’Sullivan, Eoin Conlon, Jack Deegan, Conall Cournane.

Saturday, July 6 –


IRELAND v GERMANY, Stade de Hautepierre, Strasbourg, 1.06pm local time/12.06pm Irish time (live on the Rugby Europe YouTube channel)


Sunday, July 7 –