Ireland Men Sign Off In San Francisco With Stirring Challenge Trophy Win

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Ireland Men Sign Off In San Francisco With Stirring Challenge Trophy Win

MEN'S RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS - CHALLENGE FINAL: Saturday, July 22
AUSTRALIA 14 IRELAND 24, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Australia: Tries: Billy Dardis, Jimmy O'Brien, Terry Kennedy, Greg O'Shea; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
Captain Billy Dardis started the try-scoring and Jimmy O'Brien and replacements Terry Kennedy and Greg O'Shea joined him on the scoresheet as Ireland reeled off four tries to Australia's two, overturning another fancied World Series outfit in front of the vocal and colourful contingent of Irish fans inside AT&T Park.
Stan McDowell's charges were one of the tournament's leading try scorers with 17 across the three days, including four each from talismanic skipper Da rdis and speed merchant Jordan Conroy. Getting past the Australians was all the more impressive given that Conroy had to departure early with a head injury, and Bryan Mollen was sidelined with an ankle injury for all bar the first round of matches.
The result completed a weekend to remember for the IRFU Sevens Programme on the global stage as the Ireland Men's team claimed the Challenge silverware and ninth place overall - a huge achievement for an ambitious young squad currently not on the World Series and who came into the World Cup as the 16th seeds of the 24 qualified nations.
This came 24 hours after the Ireland Women's side secured their best ever World Cup Sevens finish of sixth, a jump of three places on their tournament seeding. It has been an unforgettable summer for both Irish squads, who played together at the same World Cup for the first time, and the hope now is that McDowell's men came join the Women on the Worl d Series circuit via the Hong Kong qualifying route next April.
The confidence and top-tier experience gained from winning bronze at the London Sevens, taking home the Moscow and Marcoussis titles to lead the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series heading into September's final round, and now defeating three World Series core teams at the World Cup, should stand them in very good stead for the 2018/19 season.
Having seen off World Series regulars Kenya (24-14) and Wales (27-12), Australia stood between Ireland and Challenge Trophy success. Opposing coaches McDowell and Tim Walsh both field youthful line-ups with Ireland having an average age of 23 and Australia 24. Of course, the men in green were hoping to repeat their 24-14 win against the same opposition from the Paris Sevens last month.
It was helter-skelter stuff right from the off in this Stateside rematch, with Hugo Keenan's tap-back setting Conroy away up the right touchline only for sweeper To m Lucas to haul him down inside the 22. Conroy had a second quick-fire opportunity from O'Brien's skip pass but dropped the ball and then injured himself in an awkward tackle.
Kennedy replaced the Buccaneers flyer and a Harry McNulty penalty win at the breakdown provided the platform for the game's opening score, three minutes in. Kennedy tapped and his jinking feet and well-timed pass freed up McNulty to ghost into a small gap and link with O'Brien whose delicious no-look pass over the top set Dardis free for an unconverted try.
Australia answered back from their very first foray into Irish territory, Ben O'Donnell kicking a loose ball forward and winning it on the deck before Sam Myers attacked through the middle and fed an offload back inside for the onrushing John Porch to sprint clear for a 60-metre try. Tom Lucas' conversion from straight in front made it 7-5.
However, the green and gold's only lead of the game wa s short-lived. Keenan acrobatically batted back the restart with Kennedy throwing caution to the wind by flinging a no-look pass from close to the touchline back to Dardis whose quick feet floored both Henry Hutchison and Porch. The captain was duly tackled but managed to release O'Brien who brilliantly slipped through two tackles and kept his balance to race away for a stunning length-of-the-field effort, converted by Dardis.

The in-form Irish attack wanted more before half-time and Australian indiscipline - an offside from a kick and a high tackle - invited them back into scoring range after the hooter. From a tap penalty wide on the left, Ireland exploited the space on the opposite flank where Kennedy crossed in the corner from McNulty's pinpoint long pass. 10 points was the margin at the break - 17-7.
Ireland's tenacious tackling prevented Austral ia from getting past halfway, and turnover ball soon allowed replacements Shane Daly, Kennedy and O'Shea to stretch their legs in attack. Dardis' pass out of the tackle put Kennedy scampering forward and he drew in the final defender to send the supporting O'Shea in under the posts for another well-executed seven-pointer.
A touch of individual class kept Australia in the hunt in the 11th minute, pacy replacement Maurice Longbottom evading the clutches of O'Shea to run in his side's second try from inside his own half. That restored the 10-point gap, but with Keenan and McNulty continuing to impress under the high ball, Ireland wrestled back control of possession.
The Australians fell foul of referee Jeremy Rozier's whistle at crucial stages and their only chance late on - a Boyd Killingworth kick and chase - was well covered by the retreating Kennedy, as Ireland delighted their noisy band of supporters by making it three success ive wins over World Series opposition and a four-out-of-five return for the whole competition.
2018 MEN'S RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS - FINAL PLACINGS:
1. New Zealand (Cup Champions)
2. England
3. South Africa
4. Fiji
5. Argentina
6. USA
7. Scotland
8. France
9. IRELAND (Challenge Champions)
10. Australia
11. Wales
12. Canada
13. Samoa
14. Russia
15. Japan
16. Kenya
17. Chile (Bowl Champions)
18. Hong Kong
19. Uganda
20. Uruguay
21. Papua New Guinea
22. Tonga
23. Zimbabwe
24.< /strong> Jamaica
Click here to view the full Rugby World Cup Sevens results and daily round-ups.
TIME LINE: 3 minutes - Ireland try: Billy Dardis - 0-5; conversion: missed by Billy Dardis - 0-5; 5 mins - Australia try: John Porch - 5-5; conversion: Tom Lucas - 7-5; 6 mins - Ireland try: Jimmy O'Brien - 7-10; conversion: Billy Dardis - 7-12; 7+2 mins - Ireland try: Terry Kennedy - 7-17; conversion: missed by Billy Dardis - 7-17; Half-time - Australia 7 Ireland 17; 10 mins - Ireland try: Greg O'Shea - 7-22; conversion: Billy Dardis - 7-24; 11 mins - Australia try: Maurice Longbottom - 12-24; conversion: John Porch - 14-24; Full-time - Australia 14 Ireland 24
Team: Harry McNulty, Ian Fitzpatrick, John O'Donnell, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O'Brien, Jordan Conroy.
Subs used: Terry Kennedy, Greg O'Shea, Shane Daly, Foster Horan.
Follow the Irelan d Women's and Men's Sevens teams this season in our exclusive behind-the-scenes series - On The Road with the Ireland 7s.
The Ireland Sevens jerseys are available to buy online here from Elverys Intersport, official sports retailer of the IRFU.
IRELAND MEN'S SEVENS Squad (2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens, AT&T Park, San Francisco, USA, Friday, July 20-Sunday, July 22):
Robert Baloucoune (Enniskillen/Ballymena/Ulster)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Billy Dardis (UCD) (capt)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne)
Foster Horan (Lansdowne)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Terry Kennedy (St. Mary's College)
Harry McNulty (UCD)
Bryan Mollen (Dublin University)
Jimmy O'Brien (UCD/Leinster)
John O'Donnell (Lansdowne)
Greg O'Shea (Shannon)
IRELAND MEN'S RWC SEVENS Results -
Friday, July 20:
Pre-Rou nd of 16: Ireland 17 Chile 12, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis, Jimmy O'Brien; Con: Billy Dardis
Match Report: Ireland Men Leave It Late As O'Brien Try Knocks Out Chile
Team: Shane Daly, John O'Donnell, Harry McNulty, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Bryan Mollen, Jordan Conroy.
Subs used: Jimmy O'Brien, Terry Kennedy, Ian Fitzpatrick. Not used: Foster Horan, Greg O'Shea.
Round of 16: South Africa 45 Ireland 7, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Terry Kennedy; Con: Hugo Keenan
Match Report: Kenya Next Up For Ireland Men Following Heavy Loss To Blitzboks
Team: Foster Horan, Harry McNulty, John O'Donnell, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O'Brien, Jordan Conroy.
Subs used: Terry Kennedy, Ian Fitzpatrick, Shane Daly, Greg O'Shea.
Saturday, July 21:
Challe nge Quarter-Final: Kenya 14 Ireland 24, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan, Jordan Conroy 3; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
Match Report: Conroy Cuts Loose With Hat-Trick As Ireland See Off Kenya
Team: Harry McNulty, Ian Fitzpatrick, John O'Donnell, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O'Brien, Terry Kennedy.
Subs used: Jordan Conroy, Foster Horan, Shane Daly. Not used: Greg O'Shea.
Sunday, July 22:
Challenge Semi-Final: Ireland 27 Wales 12, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Hugo Keenan, Billy Dardis 2, Jordan Conroy, Shane Daly; Con: Billy Dardis
Match Report: Two-Try Dardis Leads Ireland Men Into Challenge Final
Team: Harry McNulty, Ian Fitzpatrick, John O'Donnell, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O'Brien, Jordan Conroy.
Subs used: Foster Horan, Shane Daly, Terry Kennedy, Greg O'Shea.
Challenge Final: Australia 14 Ireland 24,
AT&T Park, San Francisco
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Billy Dardis, Jimmy O'Brien, Terry Kennedy, Greg O'Shea; Cons: Billy Dardis 2
Team: Harry McNulty, Ian Fitzpatrick, John O'Donnell, Billy Dardis (capt), Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O'Brien, Jordan Conroy.
Subs used: Terry Kennedy, Greg O'Shea, Shane Daly, Foster Horan.
Source: Google News Ireland | Netizen 24 Ireland

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