Irish Sevens team into semi-finals at European Games with Olympic qualification up for grabs

Only the winners of the event are assured of a place in the Paris Games next summer

The Irish Sevens team has earned a semi-final place at the European Games in Poland after winning against Germany in their pool match and beating Belgium in the quarterfinal on Monday evening.

Only the winners of the event, which are also Olympic qualifiers, are assured of a place in the Paris Games next summer. The Irish women’s team have already qualified, but never before have Ireland qualified both a men’s and women’s rugby team for the same Olympic Games.

In both matches a slow start from Ireland forced them into a chasing game and in both they had to respond to going a try down. But each time, they responded well, hitting Germany with three tries and winning the match 19-7 to book the quarterfinal.

That game then fell into a similar pattern when Belgium scored and converted after two minutes for a 7-0 lead. But two minutes later Dylan O’Grady was in for a try with Mark Roche converting to draw level.


A wonderful kick and chase from World Player of the Year Terry Kennedy and another conversion from Roche put Ireland ahead on seven minutes, closing the half 14-7 ahead.

Belgian indiscipline had them down to six players early after the restart and Ireland quickly capitalised with Liam McNamara scoring the first of his two tries almost immediately. He added the other on 11 minutes for a more comfortable 26-7. But it was Belgium who moved the scoreboard at the end with a late consolation try, Ireland winning 26-12.

Ireland must win their semi-final match against Portugal, who convincingly beat Georgia 31-5 in the other quarterfinal. Georgia were given a yellow card in the first half and were reduced to six players. The semi-final match takes place on Tuesday at 12.58 (Irish time).

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times