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Olympic dream dead as Ireland 7s forced to settle for bronze medal in Dublin

After defeat to Russia, Ireland women dusted themselves off to beat Kazakhstan in the third-place play-off.

Ireland 10

Russia 19 

Daire Walsh reports from UCD

THE IRELAND WOMEN’S Sevens Olympic dreams came to an end at UCD today, after they fell to a nine-point defeat against an impressive Russia in the Championship semi-final of the Women’s Global Sevens Qualification Tournament.

Anthony Eddy’s side had secured their place in the last-four with triumphs over Trinidad & Tobago, Portugal, China and Tunisia, but ultimately had to settle for a third-place finish after beating Kazakhstan in this evening’s bronze medal match.

Ireland had placed the Russians under significant pressure in the early stages of the action, but it was their European counterparts who eventually broke the deadlock four minutes in.

Daria Lushina celebrates Daria Lushina celebrates Russia's win. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The industrious Iulia Guzeva dotted down to the right of the posts, and even though Daria Lushina was short from the subsequent conversion, they had developed a five-point advantage.

Yet, the hosts displayed plenty of resilience, and the Russia defence was breached for the very first time in the competition when Aoife Doyle finished off an enterprising move to the right of the posts for an unconverted score.

This effort from the Shannon star was warmly welcomed by the enthusiastic home support, but when a breakaway try from Ekaterina Kazakova was supplemented by a Lushina conversion in first-half stoppage-time, Ireland found themselves staring into a 5-12 deficit at the break.

Indeed, Ireland were left with a mountain to climb in the early stages of the second period, as Elena Zdrokova claimed Russia’s third try of the proceedings.

Alison Miller scores a try Ali Miller scores for Ireland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The 12th-minute sin-binning of Baizat Khamidova did provide the Irish with a numerical supremacy in the closing stages, though, and after the ball was spread wide left, Alison Miller dived over to register her seventh try of the tournament.

A wayward conversion attempt from Mulhall meant that Ireland required two tries before the end of the game, however, and in spite of their best endeavours, it is Russia who progress to the Championship decider along with Spain.

A third-placed finish for Ireland could still provide them with a place on next season’s World Sevens Series.

Ireland Scorers:

Tries: Aoife Doyle, Alison Miller.

Russia Scorers: 

Tries: Iulia Guzeva, Ekaterina Kazakova, Elena Zdrokova.

Conversions: Daria Lushina (2).

IRELAND: Audrey O’Flynn, Megan Williams, Ashleigh Baxter, Stacey Flood, Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Aoife Doyle, Lucy Mulhall (Captain).

Replacements: Niamh Briggs, Nicole Cronin, Kim Flood, Louise Galvin, Alison Miller.

RUSSIA: Daria Bobkova, Baizat Khamidova, Kristina Seredina, Daria Lushina, Iulia Guzeva, Ekaterina Kazakova, Mariia Perestiak.

Replacements: Anna Minislamova, Oxana Korobchuk, Marina Petrova (Captain), Maria Shemchuk, Elena Zdrokova.

Referee: Sara Cox (England).

Bronze medal match

Ireland 17

Kazakhstan 5

Aoife Doyle recorded a first-half brace as Ireland brought their journey through the two-day rugby festival to a satisfactory conclusion.

Ireland were eager to bounce back from their semi-final defeat to Russia, and inside the opening 60 seconds the excellent Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe broke free for a try on the right-wing.

Skipper Lucy Mulhall was off-target from her first conversion of the game, but after receiving a short off-load from Megan Williams in the fourth-minute, Doyle crossed over the Kazakhstan line in clinical fashion.

Aoife Doyle celebrates Aoife Doyle walks off after the bronze match. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Mulhall’s bonus kick was successful on this occasion, and although they leaked a try to Kazakhstan’s Alina Askerova, a second score in stoppage-time from the lively Doyle ensured that Ireland were 12 points to the good (17-5) heading into the interval period.

Kazakhstan’s progression to the Championship semi-final – where they were eventually defeated 28-0 by Spain – was an indication of the quality within the squad, though, and they enjoyed a sustained spell of possession inside the Irish 22 after the restart.

Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe celebrates with Lucy Mulhall Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe celebrates with Lucy Mulhall: Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The hosts largely held firm during this juncture, however, and with Niamh Briggs entering the fray for the final five minutes of the action, they were aiming to thwart an attempted late surge by Kazakhstan.

John Phelan’s challengers did their best to claim a late consolation, but when Doyle kicked the ball out of play at the end of the proceedings, Ireland’s place in next season’s World Seven Series was secured.

Spain claimed the big prize of the day, beating Russia 19 – 12 in the final to seal their Olympic place.

Scorers

Ireland

Tries: Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Aoife Doyle (2).

Conversion: Lucy Mulhall.

Kazakhstan:

Try: Alina Askerova.

IRELAND: Audrey O’Flynn, Megan Williams, Ashleigh Baxter, Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Aoife Doyle, Lucy Mulhall.

ReplacementsNiamh Briggs, Nicole Cronin, Kim Flood, Louise Galvin, Alison Miller.

KAZAKHSTAN: Kundyzay Baktybayeva, Balzhan Koishybayeva, Symbat Zhamankulova, Nigora Nurmatova, Alina Askerova, Anna Yakovleva (Captain), Svetlana Klyuchnikova.

ReplacementsVeronika Stepanyuga, Maria Grishina, Aigerym Daurembayeva, Olessya Teryayeva, Aigerim Akymbekova.

Referee: Alhambra Nievas (Spain).

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