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Ireland's Sevens sides on course for top three finish after unbeaten start in Lisbon

Pool stage complete, Ireland are well seeded for the quarter-finals

Munster's Gearoid Lyons leads Ireland out against Georgia.
Munster's Gearoid Lyons leads Ireland out against Georgia.
Image: https://twitter.com/IrishRugby

Updated 20.00

BOTH MEN’S AND women’s sevens sides remain well on course for a coveted top three finish at this weekend’s Rugby Europe Olympic Repechage in Lisbon, making an unbeaten start after their pool stages, and securing advantageous seedings for tomorrow’s knockout round.

Both sides must secure a third place at the tournament, to keep their Olympic hopes alive.

The women’s side have stormed into a top seed in their tournament, with 20 tries scored and just one conceded, while the men’s side have found things much tougher on their step up in competition, with two wins and a draw from their pool.

After fifth place finishes in their last two outings, the women got off to a flier this morning, hammering Romania 52-0, with Six Nations winner Alison Miller scoring five tries in the rout, Ashleigh Baxter, Jenny Murphy and Claire Keohane also crossing for tries.

Captain Lucy Mulhall also kicked three conversions, while Claire Keohane also added one conversion.

They followed that up with another win, although they needed a cool second half performance to see off Belgium.

Tries for Louise Galvin and Stacey Flood had them 12-5 in front at the break, before this stunning solo effort from Mulhall gave them breathing space.

Jenny Murphy added a final try with the last play of the game, while Mulhall kicked two conversions in the 24-5 win.

They then racked up a huge 50-0 win against Ukraine, to make it a clean sweep en route to the last eight.

Claire Keohane got them up and running with this early solo effort, and they never looked back, with Keohane scoring again, Alison Miller running in four, and Jenny Murphy and Hannah Tyrell also crossing the line.

The three wins big wins secured a top seed for tomorrow’s quarter final stage, where they’ll take on Germany in the last eight.

The men’s side faced a big step up in competition this weekend, and they’ve had to grind their way to an unbeaten opening day.

They were forced to come back from 19-5 down against established sevens outfit Russia in their opening game, Steve Toal-Lennon, Shane Layden and Harry McNulty scoring tries, with stand-in captain Gearoid Lyons and Toal-Lennon converting to snatch a 19-19 draw.

They exploded into life in their next game, however, as Terry Kennedy broke to put in Munster’s Alex Wooton, who shrugged off a tackle to go in under the posts.

Ian Fitzpatrick bagged a try shortly after, while Aaron Cairns also crossed, and three Lyons conversions left Ireland cruising 21-0 at half time.

However, Georgia fought back to score three unanswered tries in the second half, and but for the second and third conversions being missed, it could have been another draw for Ireland.

They looked more composed against Italy in their final pool game though running in five tries to win 33-15.

Alex Wooton scored two more, with Adam Byrne, Terry Kennedy, and this stunning effort from Aaron Cairns wrapping up the win.

The result ensures Ireland finish as the third seed heading into the last eight, setting up a quarter-final with Lithuania tomorrow.

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Neil Treacy

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