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Women's 7s forced to settle for silver after securing safe passage to World Olympic repechage

Ireland came within a minute of victory in the Lisbon tournament, but were undone by late Spanish power.

Updated 18.45

IRELAND’S WOMEN’S SEVENS side have this afternoon booked a berth at next year’s World Olympic Repechage, but fell just short of ultimate victory in Lisbon, losing 26 -19 to Spain.

Needing a top three finish to emerge as Europe’s representatives in, the main portion of their job was done by the time Lucy Mulhall kicked off against the experienced Spanish outfit in the final.

Lucy Mulhall, Jenny Murphy and Louise Galvin Lucy Mulhall, Jenny Murphy and Louise Galvin in Grafton Street recently. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

With the pressure off, Ireland flew out of the traps early on and captain Mulhall led the way, jinking her way through tackles and under the posts to give Ireland the early lead.

Within minutes, Mulhall was converting a second try as Jenny Murphy showed her power and pace, breaking from the 22 to shrug off tackles on her way to diving for the try-line.

Spain hit back with tries either side of the half-time whistle. However, for a time Mulhall’s conversions kept the smattering of Irish support in fine voice as the score stood at 14 – 12.

Width

Ireland swarmed back the other end and laid siege in the Spanish 22, but the searing heat made fatigue a very real factor and evidence of errors began to show in Irish decision-making. Never the less, Ireland did not leave the 22 empty handed. Refusing to let Spain off the hook lightly, Irish pressue forced a turnover that led to Ashleigh Baxter’s try and Spain required a maximum score.

They got it by exploiting Ireland out wide, powerful Spanish strike-runners lurked on the wings and gobbled up yards on the right before the crucial levelling converted try.

Heartbreak, when it came barely a minute later, was down Spain’s left wing. The experience Spanish attack probing at a new channel to cross the whitewash seconds before the final hooter.

Earlier, Louise Galvin scored half of Ireland’s six tries in a 40 – 0 trouncing of Germany in the quarter-final. Alison Miller crossed for two tries of her own with Claire Molloy completing the rout.

try

In the semi-final, Galvin added two tries to her tournament tally  in the 28 – 5 win over hosts Portugal.

The first came at a crucial time as it gave Ireland a 7 – 5 half-time lead having trailed to a ferocious early Portuguese onslaught.

Miller showed her trademark outside gas to push Ireland further clear after the break and with the home side tiring in the heat, the two speedsters would double their tally before the close.

Originally published 13.45

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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