Ireland men progressed to the Rugby Europe Olympic Qualifiers quarter finals undefeated after two wins and a draw in their Pool B matches in Day 1 at Colomiers France.
Ireland recorded wins against Ukraine and Russia before drawing with Spain in their final pool match. However, Spain progreed as pool leaders thanks to a marginally superior points difference, Ireland progressing in second place for a quarter final against Germany who finished second in Pool C.
Match details below.[accordions] [accordion title=”Pool B: Ireland 41 Ukraine 0″ load=”hide”]
Ireland raced to a 29 – 0 lead at half time with Conroy topping and tailing the first half scores, his brace separated by tries from Dardis, Kennedy and Foster as Ireland started their campaign full of intent.
Captain Dardis converted 2 of the tries to complete the first half scoring.
Ukraine upped their efforts in the second half restricting Ireland to tries from Fitzpatrick and O’Shea, Roach converting the first to give Ireland a 41 point haul.
TRY: Jordan Conroy (2), Billy Dardis, Terry Kennedy, Foster Horan, Ian Fitzpatrick, Greg O’Shea. CON: Billy Dardis (2), Mark Roche
Ireland notched up another five try haul in the first half as they raced to a 33 – 0 lead at the break against Russia.
Kelly opened the scoring and crossed for the third with Conroy scoring in between. Keenan raced over for Ireland’s fourth before Conroy completed his brace. Dardis converting the first four.
The teams went try for try at the start of the second half as Nikitin and Karzanov crossed for Russia with Conroy and Leavy responding for Ireland.
However Russia had no answer for Conroy’s pace and the Tullamore flyer completed his four try haul with Ireland’s final score, converted by Roche, which pushed Ireland past the half century.
TRY: Jack Kelly (2), Jordan Conroy (4), Hugo Keenan, Adam Leavy. CON: Billy Dardis 5, Mark Roche
It was a somewhat tighter match as the competition got to the business end of the pool stages with the main contenders playing each other.
Ireland found Spain too hot to handle in the first half as The Lions raced to a 17 – 0 lead through a Sainz-Trapaga brace and a long range effort from Carrion.
The boys in green did well to stage, an exciting, comeback in the second half with captain Dardis leading the way with a try and conversion.
Conroy, who had been well marshalled throughout the first half, finally found some space to squeeze over in the corner to make it a one score game, Ireland now trailing 17 – 12 as the game went into its final minutes.
Spain had one chalked off for offside, following an attempted kick through, and Ireland worked their way upfield with a series of penalties as the game approached it’s last play.
The abrasive Kennedy leveled the game, with the clock at zero, leaving Dardis with the conversion to win the game. Unfortunately the kick from out wide was well short, leaving Spain to progress as pool winners by virtue of a marginally superior points difference over the three pool games.
TRY: Billy Dardis, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy. CON: Billy Dardis
Ireland Men Sevens Squad
Harry McNulty, Foster Horan, Jack Kelly, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Terry Kennedy, Jordan Conroy, Ian Fitzpatrick, Adam Leavy, Bryan Mollen, Greg O’Shea, Mark Roche.
The match against Germany kicks off at 11:06 am UK/IRE tomorrow morning with the winner going through to a likely semi final against France.
Click here for the final pool tables and tournament fixtures/results page.