Irish Men’s Sevens squad join female counterparts in qualifying for next summer’s Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco.
It also marks the first time this has been achieved by the IRFU Sevens programme.
Ireland have competed in five previous Men’s RWC Sevens tournaments – 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2009 – with the Women’s team making their Sevens World Cup debut four years ago in Moscow.
Qualification was achieved through a third place finish at the Exeter 7s, the final leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series. Anthony Eddy’s side suffered their only defeat of the weekend 15-12 to Wales in the Cup Semi final before rebounding to beat their pool opponents Portugal 33-12 in the 3rd-4th place playoff.
Ireland fell just two points short of winning the overall Grand Prix Series title. Russia’s Exeter final win over Wales seeing them crowned overall champions with 74 points followed by Ireland on 72 and Spain on 58.
Next year’s Sevens World Cup takes place at the iconic AT&T Park – the home of the San Francisco Giants – on July 20-22 and the IRFU’s decision to throw their weight behind both the men and women’s 7s programs seems to be paying dividends. Indeed it what has been an excellent Summer for both programs.
The mens program will play at the World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifying tournament in Hong Kong next April for a chance to make it on to the circuit which takes in locations like Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, New Zealand and the USA.
Having won their 3 pool games on Saturday, Ireland began Sunday with a Cup quarter-final victory over hosts England with tries from Jordan Conroy, Hugo Keenan (2) and John O’Donnell giving them a 24-7 win.
Ireland’s winning run at the competition came to a halt at the semi final stage as an experienced Wales side edged Anthony Eddy’s side 15-12 to take their spot in the final.
That now meant that Ireland would face pool opponents Portugal once again in the 3rd-4th place playoff game. Again, Ireland had a comfortable win over the Portuguese with a 33-12 victory in which Shannon’s Greg O’Shea grabbed a try.
It caps what has been an extremely successful summer for the Irish mens 7s program and they can now look forward to both the Sevens World Cup and the Hong Kong Qualifying competition next April.
IRELAND MEN’S SEVENS Squad (2017 Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series – Round 4, Sandy Park, Exeter, Saturday, July 15-Sunday, July 16):
Fionn Carr (Naas)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Adam Leavy (Galwegians/Connacht) *
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster)
John O’Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O’Shea (Shannon)
Mark Roche (Lansdowne)
Nick Timoney (Queen’s University/Ulster)
* Denotes uncapped player
Sunday, July 16:
Cup Quarter-Final: Ireland 24 England 7, Sandy Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Hugo Keenan 2, John O’Donnell; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
Team: Nick Timoney, Harry McNulty, Hugo Keenan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Conroy, Fionn Carr, Billy Dardis (capt). Subs: Adam Leavy, Greg O’Shea, John O’Donnell, Jimmy O’Brien, Mark Roche.
Cup Semi-Final: Ireland 12 Wales 15, Sandy Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Jordan Conroy, Fionn Carr; Con: Billy Dardis
Team: Nick Timoney, Harry McNulty, Hugo Keenan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Conroy, Jimmy O’Brien, Billy Dardis (capt). Subs: Adam Leavy, Greg O’Shea, John O’Donnell, Fionn Carr, Mark Roche.
3rd-4th Place Play-Off: Ireland 33 Portugal 12, Sandy Park
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan 2, Ian Fitzpatrick, Greg O’Shea, John O’Donnell; Cons: Mark Roche 4
Team: Nick Timoney, Harry McNulty (capt), Hugo Keenan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Jordan Conroy, Jimmy O’Brien, Mark Roche. Subs: Adam Leavy, Greg O’Shea, John O’Donnell, Fionn Carr, Billy Dardis.