Ireland make it to the top table of World Rugby Sevens Series

Victory over Hong Kong in qualifier final promotes Ireland to top tier for 2020

Captain  Billy Dardis lifts the trophy after Ireland beat Hong Kong to win the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier Final at the Hong Kong Stadium. Photograph:  Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Inpho

Captain Billy Dardis lifts the trophy after Ireland beat Hong Kong to win the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Qualifier Final at the Hong Kong Stadium. Photograph: Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Inpho

 

Ireland 28 Hong Kong 7

Ireland will be one of the 20 core teams in next year’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series after silencing the home crowd at the Hong Kong Sevens to book a spot at the top table.

In front of a partisan, capacity crowd at the Hong Kong Stadium, Ireland put last year’s disappointment of losing to Japan in the semi-finals to bed, with an assured performance against the tournament hosts.

Harry McNulty dived over the line after three minutes thanks to a deft offload from Jordan Conroy. Captain Billy Dardis, who had missed day one of the tournament due to a stomach bug, converted to put Ireland into the lead.

Greg O’Shea, whose grandfather emigrated to Limerick from Hong Kong in the early 1950s, was next to dot-down, out-muscling the covering defence to stretch out for the whitewash. Dardis again converted to put Ireland into a 14-0 lead at the break.

Ireland’s Jordan Conroy and Terry Kennedy celebrate at full time after victory over Hong Kong. Photograph: Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Inpho
Ireland’s Jordan Conroy and Terry Kennedy celebrate at full time after victory over Hong Kong. Photograph: Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Inpho

Conroy crossed for his 10th try of the weekend at the start of the second half, the Tullamore flyer awarded player of the tournament thanks to his tally across the six games. Dardis again added the extras.

Tom McQueen got a try back for Hong Kong and despite losing O’Shea to a yellow card, Ireland finished with a fourth try from Terry Kennedy to seal victory and a golden ticket to the top tier ahead of Olympic qualifiers later this year.

Earlier in the day, with high humidity at pitch-level, Ireland met European rivals Germany in the semi-finals.

Both sides went hard at it in the opening stages, and it took until the closing seconds of the first for Ireland to register the first points of the game. Germany conceded a penalty on their own five-metre line, and a well-worked move saw Conroy cross for his first of two tries in the game, sending Ireland into the break with a 5-0 lead.

Germany hit back almost immediately from the restart. They won a penalty at the ruck and from a tap-play, found a gap in the Irish defence to cross the line. The conversion was missed, making it 5-5.

The Germans competed hard at the breakdown and scored their second try from a turnover ball to give them the lead.

Ireland were then again guilty of infringing at the breakdown and conceded a penalty in front of the posts. Germany opted for a shot at goal, but the drop-kick was scuffed to the left of the posts.

From the 22 drop-out, Ireland gathered well and gained some momentum, working the ball upfield.

Some neat interplay between McNulty, O’Shea and Kennedy put Dardis into space and the Kildare man raced through to touch down for a converted try.

As the clock ticked down, Ireland looked to have done enough, but Conroy ensured a place in the final with a well-taken score in the corner which Dardis expertly converted to give his side a 19-10 victory.

SEMI-FINAL

IRELAND 19 GERMANY 10

SCORERS – Ireland:
Jordan Conroy 2 tries; Billy Dardis try, 2 cons.

IRELAND: Harry McNulty (UCD), Foster Horan (Lansdowne), Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne), Billy Dardis (Terenure, capt), Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers), Terry Kennedy (St Mary’s), Greg O’Shea (Shannon).

Subs used: Adam Leavy (Lansdowne), Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College). Not used: Mark Roche (Blackrock College), John O’Donnell (Lansdowne), Hugo Keenan (UCD).

FINAL

IRELAND 28 HONG KONG 7

SCORERS – Ireland: Harry McNulty, Greg O’Shea, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy try each; Billy Dardis 4 cons.

IRELAND: Harry McNulty (UCD), Foster Horan (Lansdowne), Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne), Billy Dardis (Terenure, capt), Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers), Terry Kennedy (St Mary’s), Greg O’Shea (Shannon).

Subs used: Adam Leavy (Lansdowne), Bryan Mollen (Blackrock College). Not used: Mark Roche (Blackrock College), John O’Donnell (Lansdowne), Hugo Keenan (UCD).

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.